Updated: November 18, 2018 7:57:09 pm
NASA's Kepler space telescope, which discovered thousands of planets outside our solar system and revealed that our galaxy contains more planets than stars, has received a series of its last orders to break communications with Earth. The "goodnight" order completed the spacecraft's transition to retirement, which began on October 30 with NASA's announcement that Kepler ran out of fuel and could no longer carry out science, the US space agency said in a statement late Friday.
By coincidence, "good night" Kepler fell on the same date as the 388th anniversary of the namesake's death, German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion and died on November 15, 1630. The Kepler space telescope had a big impact on our understanding of the number of worlds outside our solar system.
"Through surveys, we find there are more planets than stars in our galaxy. As part of the spaceship, we ask some of the people closest to Kepler to reflect on what Kepler is for them and the discovery of amore planets rather than stars, "NASA said. The spacecraft floated in a safe orbit around the Sun, 94 million miles away from Earth.
Launched on March 6, 2009, the Kepler telescope combines cutting-edge techniques to measure star brightness with the largest digital camera equipped for space observation at that time. Originally positioned to stare continuously at 150,000 stars in a star studded star in the constellation Cygnus, Kepler took the first survey of planets in our galaxy and became NASA's first mission to detect Earth-sized planets in their star-habitable zones.
Also read: NASA's planet-hunting telescope discovered a very hot planet Earth and a new Earth
Kepler's successor is more advanced is the Satellite Transitlanet Satellite Survey (TESS), launched this April. TESS is built on Kepler's basis with fresh data sets in its search for planets that orbit around 200,000 of the brightest and closest stars to Earth.
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