Kepler science mission may be over due to system failure

The NASA Kepler mission is designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets.

The spacecraft has suffered a reaction wheel failure. With the failure of a second reaction wheel, it’s unlikely that the spacecraft will be able to return to the high pointing accuracy that enables its high-precision photometry. However, no decision yet has been made to end data collection. Even if the mission were to end, the amount of data collected during its years in orbit would make the Kepler mission a major success.

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