The "goodnight" command completes the transformation of the Kepler space telescope into the NASA planet for retirement. On Thursday evening (November 15) Kepler received the final set of commands to disconnect communication with Earth, the US space agency said in a statement on Friday.
The pension began on October 30 when NASA announced that Kepler had run out of fuel and could no longer teach.
Good night, Kepler
Coincidentally Kepler's goodnight falls on the same day as the 388th anniversary of the death of her namesake, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion and died on November 15, 1630.
"We discovered that there are more planets in our galaxy than the stars in our galaxy." As part of the farewell of the spacecraft, we asked some of the people closest to Kepler to think about what Kepler did to them, and to find more planets than the stars. " – NASA said.
Farewell, planet hunter. Last night, @NASAKepler The space telescope has received its final set of commands to disconnect communication with Earth. Goodnight commands were sent on the anniversary of the death of the namesake of the mission, Johannes Kepler: https://t.co/dhUCmKmvqW pic.twitter.com/TKkSk0EQ7C
NASA Kepler and K2 (@NASAKepler) November 16, 2018
The final commands were sent by NASA's Deep Space Network from the Kepler Operations Center to the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
LASP operates space ship operations on behalf of NASA and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation in Boulder, Colorado.
Read also | NASA says goodbye to Kepler's first mission to hunt the planet, but why?
Things you need to know about NASA Keplers
The Kepler Space Telescope now drifts into a safe orbit around the Sun, 94 million miles from Earth. This had a profound impact on the understanding by humanity of the number of worlds that exist outside our solar system.
Launched on March 6, 2009, the Kepler Telescope combined state-of-the-art starlight measurement techniques with the largest digital camera for observing the cosmos at that time.
2013: Diagram showing how the second Kepler mission works, K2 (Authors: NASA / Ames / W. Stenzel)
Originally set up to continuously stare at 150,000 stars in one constellation of the sky in the Cygnus constellation, Kepler made the first planetary survey in our galaxy and became the NASA's first mission to detect Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their stars.
Kepler's contribution to science
In space of 9.6, the spacecraft Kepler performed two missions, observed 530,506 stars, discovered 2662 planets, documented 61 supernovae and helped scientists collect 678 GB of scientific data. NASA has put together a list of the best learning results from the Kepler mission, which are as follows:
A summary of what Kepler achieved. (Source: NASA / Ames / Wendy Stenzel)
The planets outnumber the number of stars
Kepler has proved that there are more planets than the stars in our galaxy, and he knows that he is revolutionizing our understanding of our place in space.
Small planets are commonplace
Kepler showed us that our galaxy is infested with earthly worlds, and many of them may be similar to Earth in terms of size and distance from their parent stars. A recent analysis of Kepler's findings states that 20 to 50 percent of the stars in the sky may have small, perhaps rocky planets that are located in habitable zones of their stars, where liquid water could accumulate on the surface. We still need to learn a lot about whether one of them can be a carrier of life.
Planets are diverse
Kepler discovered a variety of planet types, opening his eyes to new possibilities. The most common size of the planet Kepler does not exist in our Solar System – the world between the size of the Earth and Neptune – and we must learn a lot about these planets.
Solar systems are also diverse
While our own inner solar system has four planets, Kepler found systems with a much larger number of planets – up to eight – circling near their home stars. The existence of these compact systems raises questions about how solar systems are formed: are these planets "born" close to the home star, or do they continue to form and migrate?
New observations revealed the stars
In addition to introducing us to the golden age of exoplanets, Kepler revived star studies. Kepler has watched over half a million stars during its nine years of operation.
Kepler's observations for so many stars were necessary to understand the basic properties of planets that revolve around them and deepen our knowledge of the history and structure of our galaxy and the universe.
In particular, Kepler captured the initial stages of exploding stars, called supernovae, with unprecedented precision, giving us new insights into how these starbursts begin.
TESS, successor to the first planet hunter
Kepler's advanced successor, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), was launched in April this year.
TESS is another step in the search for planets outside our solar system, including those that can support life. The mission will find exoplanets that periodically block part of the light from the host stars that are called transits.
With today's announcement of retirement @NASAKepler a space telescope, we officially pass the torch of a hunting planet @NASA_TESSthat will search 200,000 of the brightest near new worlds! Learn more about the mission: https://t.co/HYeFAnWOL7 pic.twitter.com/sxSeYO2v63
NASA Kepler and K2 (@NASAKepler) October 31, 2018
Built on a Kepler foundation with fresh data batches, TESS will look at 200,000 of the brightest stars around the Sun to find the transit of extrasolar planets.
What is the Transit method: The transit method of detecting exoplanets searches for declines in visible stars and requires planets to intersect before stars along our line of sight. Repeated periodic drops can reveal a planet or planets orbiting a star.
TESS researchers expect the mission to catalog thousands of planet candidates and significantly increase the current number of known exoplanets. Of these, about 300 are expected to be extrasolar planets the size of the Earth and super-Earth, which are worlds no larger than twice the size of Earth.
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