[ExI] Kepler's planet finding days might be over

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Thu May 16 04:57:17 UTC 2013

On Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:17 AM spike <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:
>> http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-telescopes-planet-hunting-days-may-over-202309584.html
>> Kind of related to the Fermi Paradox discussion. Well, at least,
>> planet finders give us some baseline for the Drake equation -- some
>> values to plug-in (those with the other unknowns, what does this
>> matter?) -- and an idea of what's out there in terms of planets.
>> And, of course, other missions like COROT and terrestrial efforts
>> still continue.
> Dan don’t count out Kepler.  It has four completely independent
> reaction wheels and it only needs three.  One reaction wheel failed
> and the spacecraft went into safe mode, which is what it automatically
> does when anything goes wrong with the hardware.  It powers down
> everything besides the control system and sunbathes the solar panels
> until the ground controllers can study the telemetry, figure out what
> happened and what to do.
> The forces on reaction wheels are very small, so there is no reason
> to think the remaining three cannot go on for years, and if we are
> very lucky, decades.

The story states two reaction wheels are now inoperable. So, the problem is finding a way to work with the remaining two (and hoping they continue to work) or get one of the two non-working ones back into service.


 See my SF short story "Residue":
http://www.amazon.com/Residue-ebook/dp/B00BS3T0RM/ -- US
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BS3T0RM -- UK
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00BS3T0RM -- Canada
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