The NASA Kepler Space Telescope, the one responsible for the K2 mission for searching for exoplanets, will remain without fuel in a few months, according to NASA engineers.
The Kepler space telescope has overcome several problems during its ‘life’
After losing two of the four flywheels in 2013 that were helping it to adjust the direction of its lenses, NASA looked for other alternatives to take advantage of the astronomical platform and search for exoplanets.
This is how the K2 mission was born and thanks to it, since 2013 until the beginning of this year, about 2,245 exoplanets have been detected and another 2,342 are waiting to be confirmed.
Kepler Space Telescope will remain without fuel
Despite the challenges it has overcome, the Kepler telescope, which has been in space for more than nine years, could face a new problem that could definitively end its mission. According to NASA, the lack of fuel could be the reason why Kepler will finish its operations in a few months.
Kepler is currently above the Earth’s atmosphere at a distance of 150 million kilometers, so it is not possible for NASA to send a spacecraft to resupply it.
NASA estimates that the end may arrive in several months but also stresses that, if in the past the telescope has managed to increase its survival time, it is possible to do it again.
NASA will collect as many data as possible until Kepler runs out of fuel
Since the telescope does not have a gas meter, it is difficult to know exactly how much time remains until the tank is completely empty. In order to determine the lack of fuel, the researchers will rely on changes in the performance of the thrusters or the pressure of the fuel tank.
However, since the Kepler is impossible to get a refueling spacecraft, NASA engineers will collect as many data as possible until the Kepler Space Telescope will remain without fuel.