NASA's Kepler Craft in Trouble

Spacecraft entered emergency mode 75M miles from home
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2016 6:48 AM CDT
NASA's Kepler Craft in Trouble
This file artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Kepler space telescope.   (AP Photo/NASA, File)

NASA's Kepler spacecraft is roughly 75 million miles from Houston and has a bit of a problem: The space agency says that its exoplanet-hunting craft is in emergency mode, a status engineers discovered Thursday, reports CNN. "Emergency mode is the lowest operational mode and is fuel intensive," per a NASA statement, and distance only complicates the task of trying to fix Kepler. "Even at the speed of light, it takes 13 minutes for a signal to travel to the spacecraft and back." NASA has declared an emergency, which gets priority access to communications on its Deep Space Network. Kepler was about to point toward the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, notes Tech Times; it was last reported functional on Monday. (More Kepler spacecraft stories.)

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