NASA's Kepler telescope enters emergency mode

NASA engineers are hard at work attempting to retrieve the errant Kepler telescope this week, after discovering it operating in emergency mode.

NASA’s Kepler telescope is enjoying an interesting week in the news; after entering emergency mode last week, the craft has once again been discovered to be operating in its lowest fuel-burn mode.
The telescope was first reported to have shown signs of distress last week and entered emergency mode on Thursday.
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NASA engineers have been working around the clock to retrieve the telescope, while the space agency has stated that it – as of yet – doesn’t have any indication as to what the cause for concern could be.
The telescope, which lies almost 75 million miles away from Earth, relies on a 13 minute time delay for signals to be sent or received.
Researchers are presently analysing data received from Kepler with the intent of performing what the agency terms a ‘health checkup’, which, if Kepler passes, would see it return to its search for habitable planets.
Should Kepler be deemed fit for active duty, the telescope will start a new mission named Campaign 9.
“In this campaign, both K2 and astronomers at ground-based observatories on five continents will simultaneously monitor the same region of sky towards the center of our galaxy to search for small planets, such as the size of Earth, orbiting very far from their host star or, in some cases, orbiting no star at all,” NASA said in a recent statement.

During the Kepler telescope’s first mission in 2012, the craft detected nearly 5,000 exoplanets; thus far, researchers have been able to confirm more than 1,000.
Read: NASA releases 360-degree footage of Mars
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Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA