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Kepler

  1. NASA Telescopes Discover Water on Distant Planet, the Search for Alien Life Continues!

    Now they just need to look for earth, fire, wind, and heart.

    Researchers using several NASA telescopes have detected water in the atmosphere of a distant exoplanet. It's the smallest exoplanet which has had atmospheric elements identified, which is an important step in the search for worlds outside our solar system that may support life.

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  2. Astronomers Baffled by “Impossible” Composition of Huge-Ass Planet

    Hey, it's okay to be confused. As long as we've still got that asteroid situation on lock.

    In a press release yesterday NASA announced the befuddling discovery of a hulking planet more than twice the size of Earth and 17 times as heavy. NASA admits that "planet formation theorists [are] challenged to explain how such a world could have formed," but obviously the answer is aliens, guys. C'mon.

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  3. Meet Kepler-186f, the First Validated Earth-Sized Planet in the Habitable Zone of a Red Dwarf

    This was Kepler's big announcement, and it's pretty big.

    We now know what NASA's big Kepler announcement it. It's still going on, so we'll be updating this post. What we know now is that this is the first validated Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a star other than our Sun. That's a big deal.

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  4. Watch Live as NASA Makes Kepler Planet-Hunting Mission Announcement at 2:00PM EDT

    Our guess: They're either announcing a lot more planets or one really, really interesting one.

    NASA is going to be making an announcement about the Kepler planet-hunting mission's latest discovery. The Kepler telescope is being used to find potentially habitable planets. Our guess is they'll be announcing new planets or one that happens to be very interesting. In this case interesting means habitable.

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  5. Have Astronomers Found Earth’s Twin?

    At least we'll know exactly how to destroy this planet when we inevitably migrate there.

    Details at this point are being kept on the down-low, but last week's Search For Life Beyond The Solar System Conference yielded some very exciting news: a planet roughly the size of Earth and capable of having liquid water on its surface (and consequently life) may have been discovered inside the Milky Way. Road trip, anyone?

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  6. This Afternoon NASA Announced the Existence of 715 New Exoplanets

    In other news, my feelings of irrelevancy in the face of the vast universe have increased by 715%.

    In what io9 is describing as the "single largest windfall of new confirmations at any one time," Kepler scientists announced at a teleconference today that they have confirmed the existence of a whopping 715 new exoplanets, but hey, no big deal. All in a day's work.

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  7. NASA Scientists Use Photons from the Sun to Balance Kepler Space Telescope, Because Science is Amazing

    The power of the sun in the palm of our hands. Or on our spacecraft. Whichever.

    It's expensive to get a new telescope into space to search for alien worlds, so NASA scientists have come up with an ingenious way to reactivate the defunct Kepler space telescope. It's been unable to properly aim its field of vision after losing too many of its stabilizing gyroscopes, but it will now balance itself against photon energy from the sun.

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  8. NASA Abandons Plans to Fully Repair Kepler, Hopes For New Mission

    So long, and thanks for all the exoplanets.

    NASA's Kepler spacecraft used to survey space to find potentially habitable exoplanets, but that was in the before time, in the long long ago. When one of its reaction wheels failed back in May the craft could no longer operate as intended, and now NASA is giving up on trying to get it back into full working order.

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  9. Kepler Mission Update: Wheels Are Spinning Like Whoa Up in There

    Hooray! Friction analysis for everybody!

    A little more than two months after the Kepler spacecraft's necessary minimum of wheels stopped spinning and died, NASA is now reporting some good news: While one of the wheels is still too damaged to move properly, the other wheel responded to test commands and spun in both directions. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before it's back up and running, ready to find more planets we might live on once we've sucked ours dry of resources.

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  10. NASA’s Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft Damaged, in Safe Mode, But Not “Down and Out”

    NASA had a press conference earlier today where they announced that the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has gone into safe mode. It doesn't look great for the mission at the moment, because when engineers brought the craft back to normal mode they found one of its reaction wheels is dead. It's the second of the craft's four wheels to die, which is bad because it needs a minimum of three.

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