Planet hunter will now point to galactic center to look for new worlds
The Kepler space telescope, NASA’s premier planet hunter, is about to embark on a hunt for planets toward the center of the galaxy. But on April 7, just hours before its new mission was set to begin, the observatory gave astronomers a scare by temporarily hunkering down in an emergency state that prevented mission controllers from communicating with the spacecraft. As of April 11, though, Kepler was talking to Earth again, and engineers are getting the telescope prepped for its new quest.
“A cause has not been determined; that will take time,” says NASA spokesperson Michelle Johnson. “The priority is returning the spacecraft to science mode.”
Kepler has previously had problems with its reaction wheels, which are necessary for keeping the spacecraft pointed in the right direction. After two of