The Kepler telescope has been saved. NASA's long-range space communications network has helped prevent disaster
As already reported at Geektimes , the Kepler space telescope, with which scientists are searching for exoplanets, has entered emergency mode. In this mode, the system is at the minimum operating level, but consumes maximum fuel. It was also not possible to contact the telescope, and there were even fears that the device was already lost forever.
But no - the telescope is saved! Now Kepler has already been brought back to life; it has gone out of emergency mode. Unfortunately, the reason for the incident is still unknown - NASA continues to study the situation. The agency also does not report whether the telescope can continue to carry out the mission (it will take time to check all the telescope systems - about a week). But it is known that it was possible to contact the device thanks to the Deep Space Network. itThe NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) is an international network of radio telescopes and communications equipment used both for radio astronomy research of the Solar System and the Universe, and for controlling interplanetary spacecraft. DSN is part of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
DSN is used to communicate with a variety of spacecraft, and the access time of representatives of various projects to network resources is limited. That is why the rescue of the space telescope had to be carried out in a short time. To carry out the corresponding operation, I had to take the operating time from other projects, most likely, Cassini or New Horizons. And this means that some data transmitted by these devices could be lost.
Nevertheless, we are not talking about super-valuable information, since the same New Horizons transfers information very slowly, the communication channel with it is extremely “narrow”. It takes about five hours to transfer one photo. With Cassini, the situation is about the same, although the connection with this unit is slightly better. Moreover, not the data itself was lost - they remained in the recording on the media inside the devices. Only a number of data packets have been lost; their transmission can probably be repeated later.
Now that the connection with the Kepler telescope has been restored, we can hope for the device’s transition to the tasks of the next phase of the mission - the use of a special exoplanet search technique called “ gravitational microlensing ”.
Let me remind you that during its operation, Kepler discovered about 5,000 exoplanets, of which more than 1,000 objects were confirmed.