However, recently NASA's Kepler team received an indication that the spacecraft's fuel tank is nearly empty. The European Space Agency is now testing the CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (Cheops), which will accurately measure the density of planets around other stars to determine if they are rocky planets like Earth.
Working in deep space for nine years, Kepler discovered planets from outside the solar system. "Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalising mysteries and possibilities among the stars".
Launched into space on March 6, 2009, the Kepler telescope combined techniques to measure stellar brightness with the largest digital camera equipped for observations of outer space at that time. The spacecraft, with a 1.4-meter diameter telescope, discovered almost 3000 exoplanets and many potential candidates that are still awaiting confirmation. Meaning it found more planets lurking out there than even stars.
"The search for exoplanets using the Kepler data is still underway".
The most recent analysis of Kepler's findings concludes that between 20 and 50 percent of stars visible in the night sky are likely to have small, possibly rocky, planets similar in size to Earth and located within the habitable zone. of its stars. During operation, the telescope has detected more than 2.6 thousand planets outside the Solar system, many of which can be potentially habitable.
Four years into the mission, after the primary mission objectives had been met, mechanical failures temporarily halted observations. However, the spacecraft was repurposed and saved by changing its field of view periodically.
This enabled an extended mission for the spacecraft, dubbed K2, which lasted as long as the first mission and bumped Kepler's count of surveyed stars up to more than 5,00,000. Now, however, Kepler's fantastic journey came to an end, many upcoming missions are waiting in the wings and will take over the exoplanet search. But after that scientists have found their way to keep it in operational mode but now as telescope has run out of fuel, the telescope has now retired from the mission. This second phase of Kepler's science program was called the K2 mission.