NASA specialists did not succeed in troubleshooting the Kepler space telescope, which had previously lost two of the four gyroscopes and lost its ability to fully orientate in space. Now experts are thinking about how to use the telescope in the future.
A year ago, one of the Kepler gyroscopes, which are responsible for the orientation of the device in space, had serious problems. Then there were problems in the second gyroscope, after which the telescope automatically switched to a safe mode of operation. In total, the device has four such flywheels. The normal operation of three of them could ensure the functioning of the entire spacecraft.
Tests carried out in early August showed that a gyroscope damaged in 2012 could not provide accurate orientation. Attempts to bring it into working condition were not crowned with success, and on the eve of NASA announced the termination of attempts to restore the full operation of the space telescope, ITAR-TASS reported.
The cost of the device, named after astronomer Johann Kepler, exceeds $ 600 million. The telescope was the first NASA astronomical device capable of detecting Earth-sized planets inside or near the habitats of its stars.
Since its launch in 2009, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than 3 thousands of exoplanets, and also confirmed the existence of more 866 planets around other stars. In addition, according to experts from the space department, it was possible to detect more than 2500 planets where life can exist. Now NASA engineers are developing the necessary modifications to continue the mission of the telescope.