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Kepler Mission

Space

Kepler stable after being rescued from Emergency Mode

It was action stations for the Kepler mission team last Thursday when, during a scheduled contact, it was discovered the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM). NASA subsequently declared a spacecraft emergency, giving engineers priority access to its Deep Space Network ground-based communications system. The spacecraft was successfully recovered from EM on Sunday morning and is now in a stable state, however, it is still unclear what triggered the craft's brief departure from regular operations.

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Space

Astronomers discover massive storm raging on distant star

A team of astronomers making use of data collected by NASA's Kepler telescope has spotted a leviathan storm raging on the surface of a tiny, distant star. The storm, which is believed to be comfortably large enough to swallow three Earth-sized planets within its expanse, is comprised of clouds of tiny minerals and is thought to be similar in nature to Jupiter's "Great Red Spot".Read More

Space

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope sheds light on "alien megastructure" star

KIC 8462852 recently attracted a lot of attention owing to speculation that dramatic dips in the star's light that were detected in 2011 and 2013 by NASA's Kepler spacecraft were due to the presence of vast superstructures created by an advanced alien race. But a new study centering around analysis of data collected by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope suggests that the mysterious objects occulting the star KIC 8462852 aren't the creations of little green men, but in fact a family of comets.Read More

Space

New study claims that the vast majority of Earth-like worlds do not yet exist

A newly-published NASA and Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) study is asserting that roughly 92 percent of habitable worlds have yet to be created. The research draws on data collected by NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, with the aim of placing the creation of Earth, and the potential for advanced life in the greater context of the Universe.Read More

Space

Kepler discovers "Earth's bigger, older cousin"

The odds of finding a habitable planet outside of our Solar System got a significant boost today, as NASA announced the discovery of the most Earthlike world orbiting the most Sunlike star yet. Named Kepler-425b, the new world located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus was detected by the Kepler space telescope. It has been characterized by the space agency as "Earth's bigger, older cousin."Read More

Space

MIT study on exoplanet orbits may narrow parameters in search for life

A team of researchers from MIT and Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that Earth-sized exoplanets orbit their parent stars in the same way that our planet orbits our own Sun – maintaining a roughly equidistant circular orbit. The discovery further narrows the characteristics of worlds that could potentially play host to extraterrestrial life.Read More

Space

Kepler exoplanet tally passes 1,000

NASA's Kepler space telescope's count of exoplanets has passed the magic 1,000 mark, including eight new "habitable" planets and 544 candidate planets. Having confirmed so many exoplanets and their characteristics provides a database large enough to allow astronomers to carry out statistical analysis and make very rough predictions about how many planets there are in our galaxy, as well as the odds of finding another Earth.Read More

Space

Kepler finds new exoplanet as it starts new mission

NASA's Kepler space telescope shows that it still has life in it as its extended mission begins to bear fruit. This week, the space agency announced that the spacecraft detected a new exoplanet, demonstrating that its K2 life extension mission is working. The planet, called, HIP 116454b, is 2.5 times larger in diameter than the Earth and orbits a star 180 light years from Earth in the constellation of Pisces every nine days at a distance that makes it much too hot for it to sustain life. Read More

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