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NASA rescues Kepler telescope after it slipped into emergency mode

by Brandon Russell | April 11, 2016April 11, 2016 12:00 pm PST

Kepler, NASA’s planet-hunting space telescope, was brought back to life over the weekend after going into “emergency mode.” NASA said the spacecraft reached a stable state early Sunday morning and entered the “lowest fuel-burn mode” as scientists worked to download telemetry and historical event data back on the ground.

Barreling through space more than 75 million miles away from Earth, Kepler went into emergency mode ahead of its mission to observe the center of the Milky Way as part of Campaign 9, which is a mission to find the ever-elusive Planet 9, a hypothetical large planet at the far reaches of our outer Solar System.

Once Kepler’s data is downloaded, scientists will continue to monitor the spacecraft’s health to ensure it’s still capable of conducting observations.

“The anomalous EM event is the first that the Kepler spacecraft has encountered during its seven years in space,” said Kepler and K2 mission manager, Charlie Sobeck.

If scientists believe the telescope is healthy enough to continue on, Kepler could be returned to “science mode,” where it begin its observations for Campaign 9. It was a close call but it appears Kepler isn’t ready to give up just yet.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.