Kepler Space Telescope (the planet finder) probably done.

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by gturner, May 16, 2013.

  1. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    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.
     
  2. T J

    T J Commodore Commodore

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    DAMN! We need a planet finding telescope on the dark side of the moon (a reliable one), snap to it NASA! :crazy:
     
  3. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I've read about that today. It sucks pretty hard.
     
  4. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think you mean the far side of the Moon.
     
  5. T J

    T J Commodore Commodore

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    That works too...
     
  6. RobertVA

    RobertVA Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  7. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    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.

    :vulcan:

    *awaits McCoy's retort*
     
  8. T J

    T J Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  9. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. T J

    T J Commodore Commodore

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