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Kepler Spacecraft Stable After Rough Weekend

Rendering of Kepler at work. Photo: NASA

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It was a rough and possibly tumbling weekend for NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.

Kepler is a space probe with a camera on it sending data back to earth. It’s about 75 million miles away from Earth looking for new planets.

When operators tried to contact Kepler last week, they realized it was in what they call Emergency Mode.

Emergency mode is initiated by the spacecraft, the goal being that Kepler can stabilize itself in emergency mode should it become disoriented. Because the spacecraft is so far away, communication is delayed by about 13 minutes.

But NASA says Kepler was able to fix itself, and is now stable.

Teams at NASA are investigating what cause the emergency, while returning Kepler to its next mission – observing the center of the Milky Way.

Kepler is a part of NASA’s Discovery Program, a constellation of low-cost, highly-focused missions aimed at better understanding our solar system.

This is the first time in Kepler’s 7 years the Emergency Mode was activated.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »

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