NASA's crippled Kepler spacecraft, whose planet-hunting mission was curtailed in May after two of its four positioning components failed, could be back in business if a new plan pans out. The Kepler team is using the sun's radiation pressure to help steady Kepler's aim, pointing the craft toward the constellation Sagittarius to take a 30-minute exposure. After finding the image quality was within 5% of its pre-failure performance, researchers will gradually test the approach for longer periods, working up to 83 days. Though this approach is more limited, it will enable the repurposed Kepler to continue its studies.

Related Summaries