NASA revealed that Kepler Spacecraft has entered into emergency mode, and the mission operations engineers have been given the priority access to ground-based communication on NASA’s Deep Space Network. It appears that the main reason behind Kepler’s troublesome situation is the current distance of the spacecraft, which is affecting the smooth communication process.
Several reports have emerged stating that such fast consumption of the power supply due to the emergency mode has brought the NASA engineers on to their toes and the world is worried for its favourite space telescope! Mission control engineers for NASA’s Deep Space Network in California now have a tight deadline to save the $600 million spaceship.
CS Monitor reported that “The NASA team is working on recovering from the emergency mode, as it consumes a significant amount of fuel. Since the spacecraft is 75 million miles away from Earth, even with the speed of light, communication takes about 13 minutes for the message to travel from the spacecraft and back.”
The Kepler spacecraft was working in excellent condition until April 4, after which it entered the lowest operational mode, reported the Science World Report.
The Verge reported that NASA’s Kepler spacecraft was launched in 2009 with a primary mission to look for planets outside the Solar System. The mission was completed in 2012 and detected about 5,000 exoplanets and its next top mission was K2, launched in 2014. It is reported that the mission was continued using the sun’s radiation pressure in order to position the spacecraft.
Earlier, there were reports that in July 2012, one of the gyroscopic reaction wheels of the Kepler spacecraft failed. A similar incident occurred in 2013 when the second wheel failed.