NASA's Kepler mission team received information that the contents of the ship’s fuel tank were approaching a low mark. The ship was put into sleep mode, preparing to load the scientific data collected in the last observation campaign. After that, it is planned to continue to monitor the next campaign with any amount of fuel.
From May 12, Kepler moved to the 18th campaign, watching the sky in the direction of the constellation Rak, which he followed in 2015. The data of the second review allows us to confirm previous candidates for exoplanets and discover new objects. Returning data to Earth is the highest priority in a situation with a small amount of fuel remaining.
To deliver information home, the spacecraft must turn its large antenna towards the Earth and transmit information in the allotted time, scheduled for early August. Until then, the unit will remain stable in sleep mode, so as not to use fuel. On August 2, the team will send a wake-up call and will maneuver the ship to set the correct orientation and data transfer. If everything goes well, then on August 6, the 19th observation campaign will begin. NASA will provide an update after scheduled download. The agency’s representatives monitor the work of the Kepler spacecraft and expect that the fuel will run out in the next few months. Now scientists are to examine the data. For example, recently managed to find 24 new planets from the information of the 10th campaign.