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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old May 16 2013, 07:42 PM   #1
gturner
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Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

Kepler had already lost one of four reaction wheels (critical for pointing) last year, and now a second one has died. It can't accurately point with only two wheels, so unless they can revive the first one that failed, the mission is probably over.

NY Times story

Ball Aerospace photos of the reaction wheel and other components. Subsequent pages let you see where the reaction wheels are mounted.

Unlike the Hubble, it's not designed to be serviceable and isn't in an orbit we can reach.
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Old May 17 2013, 01:29 AM   #2
T J
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

DAMN! We need a planet finding telescope on the dark side of the moon (a reliable one), snap to it NASA!
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Old May 17 2013, 01:37 AM   #3
iguana_tonante
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

Yeah, I've read about that today. It sucks pretty hard.
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Old May 17 2013, 08:08 AM   #4
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

T J wrote: View Post
DAMN! We need a planet finding telescope on the dark side of the moon (a reliable one), snap to it NASA!
I think you mean the far side of the Moon.
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Old May 17 2013, 08:44 PM   #5
T J
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

That works too...
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Old May 17 2013, 10:29 PM   #6
RobertVA
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

T J wrote: View Post
DAMN! We need a planet finding telescope on the dark side of the moon (a reliable one), snap to it NASA!
Excluding the relatively low frequencies observed with radio telescopes, such a remote location shouldn't be any better than a few hundred miles above the Earth's surface. Once above the bulk of the atmosphere there wouldn't be any of the scattered glow that hampers the view near modern cities.
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Old May 17 2013, 10:32 PM   #7
gturner
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

But captain, that classification requires you to determine an objective origin point for the measurement, yet such reference points are in fact arbitrary. In the early 21st century NASA considered placing a permanent station at L2, and any astronauts stationed there would have observed that the near side of the moon relative to their L2 station was opposite the near side of the moon as relative to Houston. In another confusing relation, when the moon was overhead for Houston, it's far side was actually closer to Houston than the near side was to mission control in Moscow, so "farther" is more dependent on Earth longitude than lunar longitude. Also, the moon doesn't really have "sides" like a simple polygon or a pie. It's roughly spherical, and notably "sideless". Since it doesn't have sides, it cannot have a near side or a far side or any other side.



*awaits McCoy's retort*
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Old May 17 2013, 11:56 PM   #8
T J
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

Hummm, I just thought it would be darker thus a better point for deep space observation... guess that's a myth. Of course at thet great distance a repair (ala Hubble) would be impossible. I hope they can recsue the Kepler make repairs.... that or prep and launch the next generation telescope.
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Old May 18 2013, 01:12 AM   #9
gturner
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

It is actually darker part of the time because it doesn't get any Earth shine. However, since it also has no atmosphere to turn Earthshine into a big region of bad seeing, it's not that big of an issue. Where the outward from Earth facing lunar hemisphere (see how I did that?) really comes into play is radio astronomy, since it's shielded from Earth's microwave broadcasts and general EMF noise.
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Old May 18 2013, 03:37 AM   #10
T J
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Re: Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

See! Look at that, I'm always learning new thing on the Trek BBS!
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