NASA's Kepler telescope now retired from Planet-hunting mission

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But in place of that Kepler was seen to found a rich diversity of planets which is around many types of stars. This enabled an extended mission for the spacecraft, dubbed K2, which lasted as long as the first mission and bumped Kepler's count of surveyed stars up to more than 500,000.

Kepler was originally positioned to stare at one star-studded patch of the sky in the constellation Cygnus. Exoplanets are the stars which are said to be orbiting outside of the solar system. In addition to the Kepler data, the archive also offers community-provided data sets for further scientific discoveries.

Kepler was launched in 2009 and was expected to continue transmissions from the largest digital space camera then in use for three and a half years.

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Unlike Cassini, whose kamikaze plunge into Saturn was its final, fiery farewell to the universe, Kepler will get a decommissioning command beamed to it from the NASA team on Earth. During K2, the Kepler spacecraft continued gathering the data necessary to hunt for exoplanets, and has allowed researchers to study other astrophysical questions.

"We are announcing today that NASA's Kepler telescope, which is hunting for new planets, more than enough fuel". Scientists are expected to spend a decade or more in search of new discoveries in the treasure trove of data Kepler provided. Kepler telescope had been running low on fuel for months. NASA has made a decision to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth.

NASA's Astrophysics Explorer Program has selected the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission to fly in 2017.

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According to NASA, that means they are located at distances from their stars where liquid water, a vital ingredient for life as we know it, could accumulate on the surface of the planet. TESS will follow in the footsteps of NASA's pioneering Kepler Mission, continuing the groundbreaking ... In the years since, astronomers have used Kepler observations to discover 2,818 exoplanets as well as another 2,679 exoplanet ... The satellite was launched in April.

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