RIP, Kepler: NASA’s Revolutionary Planet-Hunting Telescope Runs Out of Fuel
The most prolific planet-hunting machine in history has signed off.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which has discovered 70 percent of the 3,800 confirmed alien worlds to date, has run out of fuel, agency officials announced today (Oct. 30). Kepler can no longer reorient itself to study cosmic objects or beam its data home to Earth, so the legendary instrument’s in-space work is done after nearly a decade.
And that work has been transformative. [Kepler’s 7 Greatest Exoplanet Discoveries]
“Kepler has taught us that planets are ubiquitous and incredibly diverse,” Kepler project scientist Jessie Dotson, who’s based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, told Space.com. “It’s changed how we look at the night sky.”