mission to rescue the “Kepler”: at NASA has a plan





For a failed space telescope ” Kepler “there is hope – NASA is developing a plan for its repair. Recall telescope, whose task is to find new planets , because of problems with two flywheels now can not work properly and practically just hanging out in Earth orbit. These flywheels are used to adjust the direction and position of the device in zero gravity and are responsible for ensuring that “Kepler” could ever see in that area of ​​space where at some point in time it is needed.

Such a telescope four flywheels, but to complete the work he needed only three. The first flywheel broke even last year, and recently failed a second. Without these flywheels (which, by the way, get their energy from solar panels), to adjust the direction of have to burn precious fuel, which in this case is to fill up does not work.

Usually “Kepler” is always still in the same position. Because of this he can for a long time to scan a certain area of ​​space and make changes in terms of light emanating from a few hundred thousand stars. These changes can say that at some point of time in front of a star can pass planet. But it is not so simple. “Kepler” is also necessary to move in space to properly configure and fixing his optics. The team engaged in the development plan of repair flywheels spent fuel adjustment, and hopes that it will give her more time to correct the problem.

“A team of engineers has developed a problem in which attempts are made to address the problems. All work will take place on a test spacecraft in the enterprise Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. The team hopes that by the mid to end of July, they will be able to repair the flywheel “Kepler” – reported to NASA in one of his last official statements.

But the assurance that all will not. And if the idea with the repair, “Kepler” fails, then its primary mission is likely closed down or change. But forget the telescope no plans, he will continue to provide useful scientific data.

Meanwhile, a team of scientists has developed a new version of software for the telescope and load it on a spacecraft later this month. The new firmware is designed to improve the search of small planets and reduce the false targets. But even this firmware will not help if the “Kepler” will not be able to work again as it was originally conceived by engineers.
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