NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which helped astronomers discover thousands of exoplanets since its launch nearly a decade ago, has ended operations after running out of fuel, the agency announced Oct. 30.
How much is it worth to answer one of humanity’s biggest questions? That’s a topic that astrophysicists, NASA and Congress will have to grapple with in the next few years.
A National Academies committee recommends that NASA pursue development of a large space telescope to search for potentially habitable exoplanets, but declined to choose a specific concept for such a mission.
As Kepler approaches the end of its life, NASA’s next mission to search for exoplanets is gearing up for launch. Technicians are completing final tests on the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a NASA mission scheduled for launch this spring.