• search

NASA launches planet-hunting spacecraft

Written by: Staff
|

Washington, March 7: NASA's Kepler mission, which would search other Earth-like planets, has been successfully launched into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II.

Kepler is designed to find the first Earth-size planets orbiting stars at distances where water could pool on the planet's surface. Liquid water is believed to be essential for the formation of life.

Engineers acquired a signal from Kepler at 12:11 a.m. on March 7th, after it separated from its spent third-stage rocket and entered its final sun-centered orbit, trailing 950 miles behind Earth.

The spacecraft is generating its own power from its solar panels.

Engineers have begun to check Kepler to ensure it is working properly, a process called 'commissioning' that will take about 60 days.

In about a month or less, NASA will send up commands for Kepler to eject its dust cover and make its first measurements.

After another month of calibrating Kepler's single instrument, a wide-field charge-couple device camera, the telescope will begin to search for planets.

The first planets to roll out on the Kepler 'assembly line' are expected to be the portly 'hot Jupiters' - gas giants that circle close and fast around their stars.

Neptune-size planets will most likely be found next, followed by rocky ones as small as Earth.

ANI

For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Enable
x
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Done
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more