Year in review: Kepler gets second chance at life | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Year in review: Kepler gets second chance at life

Planet hunter spots hundreds of new worlds

3:00pm, December 16, 2014
Kepler spacecraft

BORN AGAIN  This year, Kepler engineers figured out how to stabilize the almost-defunct Kepler telescope, while astronomers found hundreds more worlds.


The Kepler space telescope is not quite dead. NASA’s planet-hunting space observatory got a second chance at life this year. And mission scientists analyzing already-collected data unearthed hundreds of new worlds, including a potentially habitable Earth-sized planet.

For four years, Kepler stared at one patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra and monitored roughly 150,000 stars for tiny dips in starlight — silhouettes of orbiting planets. Kepler’s goals included counting planetary systems and stars hosting planets the size of Earth.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on 2014 Top 25

From the Nature Index Paid Content