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Profile john3760
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Message 1368298 - Posted: 15 May 2013, 22:32:43 UTC
Last modified: 15 May 2013, 22:54:24 UTC

Apparently something has gone wrong with Kepler, and it has been found in safe mode with a motor problem at a slightly different altitude.

It could be the end of its life as repair may be impossible .
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/main/index.html
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/keplerm-20130515.html

And

http://news.discovery.com/space/alien-life-exoplanets


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Profile Bob DeWoody
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Message 1368312 - Posted: 16 May 2013, 1:17:50 UTC - in response to Message 1368298.

Especially since we no longer have the space truck to take a repair crew up to fix it.
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Message 1368335 - Posted: 16 May 2013, 3:17:07 UTC - in response to Message 1368312.
Last modified: 16 May 2013, 3:17:28 UTC

Especially since we no longer have the space truck to take a repair crew up to fix it.

Kepler is in a Sun centered orbit, not in a low Earth orbit like Hubble. I don't think any manned spacecraft could reach it.
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Message 1368382 - Posted: 16 May 2013, 7:10:07 UTC - in response to Message 1368335.

Ooops, of course you are right. Well I hope they can diagnose the problem and come up with a fix. It would be a shame for it to completely fail so early in it's service life.
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Message 1368648 - Posted: 16 May 2013, 21:19:38 UTC - in response to Message 1368382.

Ooops, of course you are right. Well I hope they can diagnose the problem and come up with a fix. It would be a shame for it to completely fail so early in it's service life.

It's exceeded it's mission time with one of the four reaction wheels failed. Looks like they're pushing the expected life of the reaction wheels with now another failing quite soon after the first...

Hopefully some ingenuity can nurse some further interesting science from it yet. It does have a phenomenal detector to view certain aspects of the cosmos...


Keep searchin',
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Message 1368902 - Posted: 17 May 2013, 13:55:05 UTC

I don't suppose they could just narrow their field of research to wherever it can still point to and get data,and do more extensive research on a smaller area of the sky.

Kepler could still be useful even in its crippled state.
Just a thought ( probably totally wrong ). :)

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Message 1368917 - Posted: 17 May 2013, 14:27:29 UTC
Last modified: 17 May 2013, 14:30:44 UTC

The spacecraft would drift away from any direction it was pointing over time without the stabilizing influence of at least three reaction wheels. They could probably maintain sufficient pointing accuracy by using thrusters, but the fuel for these would eventually be exhausted. They may get the balky wheel to work again, or may be able to bring the fourth reaction wheel back into service. It, too, gave trouble at one point and was turned off.

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Message 1368926 - Posted: 17 May 2013, 14:44:30 UTC

Another testament to the fact that space is a harsh environment. We may never know the exact cause of the failure as it could be anything from a flawed component to a micro meteor strike. Unfortunately they can only afford to provide limited redundancy as it adds to the launch weight and may never be called on to take over a function. Maybe we should invest in a robotic repair vehicle that could be launched with case specific replacement components. If the original vehicle had universal docking ports the repair craft could just dock, reroute the circuits and take over the function of the failed components. Just a thought.
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Message 1368954 - Posted: 17 May 2013, 15:23:38 UTC
Last modified: 17 May 2013, 15:25:59 UTC

i really hope they will send more crafts of those, successors. i think so far in the 21th century, it s the space program that paid the most and made the most huge step, more than any other space program.
and i wish this time we will try to get the most info on closest stars.
and i wish also they would add some kind of gear to record some broadbands (out of all earth interferences)
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Message 1370473 - Posted: 22 May 2013, 6:26:20 UTC - in response to Message 1368954.


Kepler Mission Manager Update


Following the apparent failure of reaction wheel 4 on May 11, 2013, engineers were successful at transitioning the spacecraft from a Thruster-Controlled Safe Mode to Point Rest State at approximately 3:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The spacecraft has remained safe and stable in this attitude and is no longer considered to be in a critical situation.

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Message 1370532 - Posted: 22 May 2013, 8:16:51 UTC - in response to Message 1370473.

hopefully, it can continue to get date from stars of the direction it is facing presently.
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Message 1370910 - Posted: 23 May 2013, 12:56:33 UTC

"Nature" says it can't do much with 2 out of 4 gyroscopes not working. I wonder if the gyroscopes were not of the same quality of the gyroscopes of the Gravity Probe 2, probably much costlier because they were cryogenic.
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Message 1371353 - Posted: 24 May 2013, 14:27:07 UTC - in response to Message 1370910.
Last modified: 24 May 2013, 14:32:33 UTC

"Nature" says it can't do much with 2 out of 4 gyroscopes not working. I wonder if the gyroscopes were not of the same quality of the gyroscopes of the Gravity Probe 2, probably much costlier because they were cryogenic.
Tullio

Very different gyroscopes between those two spacecraft.

The gyroscopes on Kepler are 'control moment gyroscopes' that are spun up, spun down, and deliberately forcibly twisted around to 'push' the spacecraft in the opposite direction (by Newton's law of reaction) to deliberately orient the spacecraft. For Kepler, that is to keep a very steady orientation despite whatever buffet there might be from the solar wind and drift from radiation pressure.

The gyroscopes on Gravity Probe 2 are smaller and are designed to run in complete isolation to all outside influences. The Gravity Probe 2 spacecraft was a very clever design to not disturb the gyroscopes to allow any spacetime perturbations to be detected. As it turned out, there was horrendous complexity introduced into the measured results due to the small uneven forces from unwanted electrostatic charging! Gravity Probe 2 used the exhaust from the cryogenic helium boil-off as reaction thrusters to "fly" the space craft around the gyroscopes all without the gyroscopes coming into contact with any of the protective housing surfaces.


The multiple 'control moment gyroscopes' on the ISS are the size of big washing machines!

Keep searchin',
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Message 1377220 - Posted: 5 Jun 2013, 23:49:56 UTC - in response to Message 1371353.


Kepler Stars (And Planets) Are Bigger Than Thought


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Message 1377333 - Posted: 6 Jun 2013, 6:50:05 UTC

I have been skeptical all along about some of the conclusions drawn from analyzing just a few pixels of light. Some of the stuff I've been reading and seeing on TV appears to be based on wishful thinking more than hard data.
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Message 1396880 - Posted: 31 Jul 2013, 6:11:48 UTC - in response to Message 1377333.
Last modified: 31 Jul 2013, 6:13:43 UTC

In the field of planet hunting, Geoff Marcy is a star. The astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley found nearly three-quarters of the first 100 planets discovered outside our solar system. But with the hobbled planet-hunting Kepler telescope having just about reached the end of its useful life and reams of data from the mission still left uninvestigated, Marcy began looking in June for more than just new planets. He's sifting through the data to find alien spacecraft passing in front of distant stars.

Moving on...

Seti is also mentioned.


Astronomer casts new light on the search for alien life


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Message 1396890 - Posted: 31 Jul 2013, 6:37:44 UTC

I am not familiar with Berkeley U. structure and policies. But why does a Berkeley astronomer like Marcy seem to ignore the existence of SETI@home? The linked article mentions only the ATA telescope.
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Message 1404050 - Posted: 16 Aug 2013, 22:51:39 UTC - in response to Message 1396890.

The prolific Kepler space telescope has had to give up its prime planet-hunting mission after engineers failed to find a fix for its hobbled pointing system.

Kepler has so far confirmed 135 planets beyond our Solar System.

Source

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Message 1404122 - Posted: 17 Aug 2013, 2:55:55 UTC - in response to Message 1404050.

Yes, but a lot of data is yet to be analyzed. This is common to most "big science" projects like LHC at CERN.
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Message 1405828 - Posted: 21 Aug 2013, 6:05:40 UTC - in response to Message 1404122.

Yes, but a lot of data is yet to be analyzed. This is common to most "big science" projects like LHC at CERN.
Tullio


Update:



Kepler Mission Manager Update: Pointing Test Results


Following months of analysis and testing, the team is ending its attempts to restore the spacecraft to full working order as the recent pointing test proved unsuccessful. We are now considering what new science research it can carry out in its current condition.


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