The Kepler Space Telescope comes alive once more. After two out of four wheels failed in May of this year, the space mission has been out of commission. With a little ingenuity, the scientists believe they can get the telescope to work another year.
The telescope needs at least three of its four wheels to work properly. This allows them to adjust direction and hold its position steady in order to study planets far out in space. Using the solar panels at the sides of the telescope NASA believes that they can even distribute light pressure to keep the telescope pointed in the right direction.
The only problem is that it can be in proper alignment only part of the year thereby seriously limiting its mission and abilities. Senior administrators are likely to determine the cost and benefit of such a project for the 2014 year. However, the telescope’s costs has already been sunk into its design, production, launch and use. It is hoped that another year of operation will cost much less than preceding years.
At present, scientists have significant amounts of data and they have not yet found the time to analyze it all. Through independent verification, they believe that approximately 103 earth-like planets within the habitable zone could exist. Further analysis of the results will help in determine if there are others worth analyzing.