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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: July 15, 2018

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by Hazed

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars since it was launched in 2009. But now it may be reaching the end of its life, because it is running low on fuel.

Kepler staff announced last week that they had “received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low” and “placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state in preparation to download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign.”

The telescope doesn’t have a gas gauge so it’s impossible to determine exactly how much fuel remains in the tank. The plan is to keep it in hibernation until August, then turn it back on and use the Deep Space Network to transfer all its mission data back to Earth. Then, assuming that all goes well, they will start another observation campaign using the remaining fuel.

Kepler is situated in deep space, trailing Earth’s orbit about 94 million miles away. There is no risk of it hitting anything out there, so when it does die it can just be left to drift on its own.

Source: https://gizmodo.com/nasas-kepler-space-telescope-is-running-out-of-fuel-and-1827419257

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