NASA's Kepler Space Telescope never ceases to surprise us on the ground. Recently it was reported that the spacecraft has now finally run out of fuel and the space agency has put it on hibernation mode to download all the data from its drives.
However, now it appears that that is not quite the case. According to the latest report, this is not the end of Kepler. Rather it has started its new journey, its 19th observation campaign on August 29.
The update adds that the spacecraft got up from the "sleep mode," however, one thruster of the machine did show some "unusual behaviour". It's possible that the telescope's "pointing performance" have been adversely affected, as per the report.
NASA had launched this legendary space in March 2009 and it has had a tremendous journey so far. This July the Kepler was put into hibernation, as the scientists started testing their new planet-hunting equipment, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The team had to put Kepler in hibernation; so that they could download all the data from its 18th mission. Later the experts informed that they have managed to download all those data successfully downloaded on August 9.
Kepler has, till date, discovered thousands of planets over the course of its journey. It had to endure some pretty tough conditions as well. The spacecraft did survive some potential disasters including cosmic rays. At that point in time NASA had expected that the fuel would run out within a few months; however, it's impossible to measure exactly how much fuel is left in the spacecraft without a gas gauge. Many experts think that this 19th mission could be its last voyage.
TESS, which is the successor of Kepler, has already started its journey and it has been designed to cover a much larger area in the sky. The telescope has already snapped and sent back to Earth some beautiful cosmic images.