NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft makes Century in its Carrier of Finding Alien Planets

NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft makes Century in its Carrier of Finding Alien Planets

Great achievement by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft that was launched few years back to hunt for planets outside the universe. Despite after being crippled by a mechanical malfunction several years ago, the Kepler spacecraft is back in normal and has found a slew of planets orbiting the stars. The best part to note as released by the American Astronomical Society on Tuesday is that the revamped K2 mission has found more than 100 confirmed planets. Among these 100 planets, some are very different from what the spacecraft observed during its original mission; many are in multi-planet systems and orbit stars that are brighter and hotter than the stars in the original Kepler field.

Among the discoveries by Kepler, it has found a system with three planets that are bigger than Earth and spotted a planet in the Hyades star cluster. Andrew Vanderburg, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that there are 234 another planets that have been found by the spacecraft but they are yet to be confirmed. Tom Barclay, of NASA’s Ames Research Center, said their aim is to focus on stars that are much brighter, stars that are nearer by, stars that are easier to understand and observe from the Earth. During the four-year period from 2009 to 2013, the Kepler’s main goal was to determine how common Earth-like planets are and succeeded in finding more than 1,000 new planets.

Not on planets and stars, K2 is also spying on supernovas, and studying planets orbiting our star. In 2014, it spent about 70 days observing Neptune, studying the ice giant’s extremely windy weather. Currently, Kepler is staring at Uranus, a world that is much more placid than its blue, wind-whipped sibling Neptune. Among future missions of Kepler, it will attempt to spot planets that are wandering through the galaxy without stars of their own.

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