APR 10, 2016 09:54 AM PDT

Kepler Goes Into Emergency Mode as NASA Scrambles to Regain Control

Something is going wrong with NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
 

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has entered low energy 'emergency mode' and engineers are trying to regain control.


As it drifts in space approximately 75 million miles away from Earth, it has apparently entered a low power state that the space agency is dubbing 'EM' (emergency mode) and there’s a possibility something has seriously harmed the spacecraft.
 
Engineers are working hard to get back in communication with the Kepler spacecraft and to regain control of it, unfortunately, being in the low power state that it is now, in addition to being so far away, it takes signals around 13 minutes to travel back and forth, even at the speed of light.
 
NASA explains in a statement that it discovered the spacecraft was in distress during a scheduled contact this past Thursday, where it attempted to communicate with and download information from Kepler.
 
The last time NASA got in touch with the spacecraft, it was April 4th, and everything was looking good at that time, so you can imagine this emergency mode discovery took NASA for surprise.
 
Unfortunately, their discovery shows that Kepler is in an emergency low power state. NASA explains that in this state, it’ll use less energy, but it burns through more fuel, which is why NASA is working hard to regain control over the spacecraft to find out just what went wrong.
 
Because of the spacecraft’s distance from Earth, there’s really no way to send a repair team out to fix it. The only hope is that engineers will be able to reactivate the spacecraft, otherwise, it’ll just end up lost in the black abyss that is space.
 
Kepler’s job is to look for exoplanets, and it has found a bunch of them throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists use this information to find out whether or not exoplanets, which are planets not in our solar system, are habitable by any means.

More than 5,000 exoplanets have been discovered with Kepler since its launch in 2009.

Source: NASA via CNN

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
Spaceflight Activates Dormant Herpes Viruses in Astronauts
Modern science is teaching us that long-term exposure to microgravity, such as living on the International Space Station from ten days to several months at...
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
The Science Behind Nuclear Fission-Powered Space Engines
The cold and unforgiving environment in outer space presents a lot of challenges, with one of those being power generation. Solar arrays can be capable eno...
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
Will Humans One Day Give Birth in Space?
Deep space missions are becoming an increasingly relevant topic of discussion in the space community these days, and perhaps unsurprisingly, this often lea...
OCT 23, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 23, 2019
Can We Grow Plants on Mars?
If we were ever to send humans to Mars for a long-term or permanent visit, then it’d be essential that we develop some sort of renewable food source....
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
How is NASA's InSight Mission on Mars Doing?
NASA’s InSight mission officially landed on Mars last November, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the media hyped this mission’s purpose on the red p...
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
A More Practical Theory Regarding Tabby's Star
A distant star system called KIC 8462852, also commonly known as ‘Tabby’s Star,’ has a particularly interesting reputation for dimming sp...
Loading Comments...