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Kepler's troubled crisis NASA's three space telescopes strike one after another

via:新浪科技     time:2018/10/29 9:32:26     readed:438

In the last observation mission, the Kepler probe successfully sent observations to the ground, and the Kepler research team issued an order requesting the detector to go to the designated area to begin collecting data on the next observation mission.

However, on October 19th, in the detector inspections regularly scheduled by NASA's Deep Space Network, the researchers found that the Kepler detector had transitioned to a non-fuel use sleep mode. Currently, the Kepler research team is assessing the cause of the failure and assessing possible problems in the next step. It is reported that this aging "exoplanet hunter" fuel is seriously insufficient and may approach the end of its service life.

Kepler telescope original file

Since 2014, the Kepler mission has detected thousands of exoplanets, 30 of which are less than twice the size of the Earth and are located in a habitable zone of the stellar system, orbiting the main star. The Kepler probe was launched from the Cape Canaveral base on March 7, 2009. It is expected to explore the mysterious planets outside the solar system.

The Kepler detector emits 1052 kg, 4.7 m long and 2.7 m wide. The detector is usually used to search for planets like Earth. Earth-like planets refer to rocky planets whose orbits are in the livable zone of the stars.

According to statistics, the Kepler detector has now found more than 5,000 confirmed "candidate exoplanets" and 2,500 "confirmed exoplanets" that scientists believe are real. Currently, the Kepler detector found more exoplanets in the K2 mission.

K2 is the second observation task of the Kepler detector, and the two induction wheels on the detector are currently faulty. These two sensing wheels provide direct control of the direction and height of the detector, helping to indicate the correct direction.

This improved mission can confirm the presence of exoplanets around dim red dwarfs, although during the eight-year observation mission, Kepler observed thousands of planets, in particular five major discoveries:

1, Earth 2.0

In 2014, the Kepler detector received a major discovery that detected the exoplane Kepler-452b, known as "Earth 2.0", 1400 light years from Earth.

This planet has an orbit similar to Earth. The amount of light received by the star is similar to that of the Earth. The time of revolution is similar to that of Earth. But experts still can't be sure that this planet is nurturing life, but they say that if the Earth humans colonize the planet, humans can continue to thrive.

2. Discover the first planet that orbits two stars.

In 2011, the Kepler probe discovered a mysterious planet that orbits two stars. This is called a "double star system." The binary system is named Kepler-16b, about 200 light years from Earth.

Experts likened the binary system to the "double sunset" star system of the planet Tatuna in the sci-fi movie "Star Wars."

3. Discover the first livable planet outside the solar system

In 2011, scientists discovered Kepler-22b, the first livable planet discovered by scientists outside the solar system. This livable super-Earth planet is a large rocky planet with a surface temperature of about 22 degrees Celsius, similar to the Earth's hot spring temperature.

4. Discover a "super earth"

In April 2017, the Kepler telescope discovered the first "super earth", which was named LHS 1140b. It runs around a red dwarf, about 40 million light-years from Earth. Scientists believe that this planet has a huge magma ocean.

5. Discover the Trappist-1 star system

There are seven Earth-like planets in the Trappist-1 stellar system, one of the largest astronomical discoveries in 2017. Each planet runs around a dwarf star, 39 million light-years from Earth, and water is likely to be present on the planet's surface.

Scientists now say that three of these planets have life-sustainable conditions, suggesting that life is likely to evolve on the surface of these planets. It is reported that the Kepler detector discovered the Trappist-1 star system in 2016, but in February this year, scientists published the potential life livability of the star system in a series of research reports.

How does Kepler discover the planet?

The Kepler detector has a very sensitive observation instrument, the spectrometer, which detects the slightest change in the star's release of light. It can simultaneously track and analyze 100,000 stars, looking for signs of weakening the intensity of the stars, which will indicate that an orbiting planet is sweeping across the satellite and distant targets.

From the perspective of the Earth, when a planet passes over the star, there will be a "peak" phenomenon. A slight weakening of the stellar light during the transit period will help scientists determine the orbit and volume of the transit planet and the size of the star.

Based on these calculations, scientists can determine that the planet is in the "livable zone" of the star, and then analyze whether the planet is suitable for extraterrestrial life. Since the Kepler probe began its K2 mission, 18 observation missions have been completed, collecting observations from a large number of distant exoplanets.

US space telescope frequent failure crisis

NASA said that after the Hubble Space Telescope was shut down due to a failure, the agency achieved "significant progress" in restoring the normal operation of the space telescope. On October 5th, the Hubble Space Telescope entered safe mode due to a gyroscope failure, and the telescope had to activate the standby gyroscope. However, the gyroscope rotates at an alarming rate, so NASA cannot switch to enable the alternate gyroscope.

To solve this problem, NASA tried to test the IT support technology - turn the gyroscope off and on. The Hubble Operations Research Group turned the gyroscope off for 1 second, then restarted the gyroscope before the induction wheel rotated.

The researchers then ordered a series of aerospace drills or attempted to remove any blockages that could cause the float to deviate from the center and produce ultra-high speeds in the opposite direction.

In each aerospace drill, the gyroscope switches from high speed mode to low speed mode to remove any blockage around the float. After the drill on October 18th, the team found that the speed of the gyroscope was significantly reduced in the high-speed mode, and the speed could be tested in the low-speed mode for a short time.

NASA said that the rotational speed of the standby gyroscope has been reduced and is now within the expected range. More tests will be carried out in the next step to ensure that the Hubble telescope can use this gyroscope for scientific operations. The Hubble telescope is the most powerful telescope on the planet. It has been in use for 28 years and is gradually showing signs of aging and may soon be completely shut down.

There is no alternative space telescope in the short term

Astronomical observing equipment such as the Hubble and Chandra telescopes have performed observation missions in space for many years, providing us with a large amount of observational images and data. These wonderful observational devices are invaluable in the development of modern science, but they are in an aging phase as time goes by, but NASA has no plans to replace these aging astronomical devices.

The Hubble and Chandra telescopes help map distant galaxies, spy on black holes and locate new planets, but astronomers fear their "eye in space" may soon blur. The reluctance of the U.S. government to invest in major astronomical science is starting to worry us, says Matt Munden, director of the American Association for Astronomical Research, that as a research community, we face a very grim future. In some areas, no scientific research can be carried out without telescopes.

Funding options for the successors of these large telescopes are yet to be determined, says Paul Hertz (Paul Hertz), director of NASA's astrophysics division. These are "national choices," said Paul Hertz, director of NASA's astrophysics division. Our observation missions are influenced by the priorities of research groups and government funding.

Launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope failed at the beginning of this month and had to stop working properly, making scientists more aware that they relied heavily on astronomical equipment made 28 years ago, and they were worried about the status of “following no one”.

The Chandra X-ray telescope is now operational for the 20th anniversary and has exceeded its expected lifespan for nearly 15 years. At the beginning of this month, the Chandra Telescope automatically entered the safe mode due to gyroscope problems. NASA said that the reason for the telescope entering safe mode on October 10 has been identified, and the operational team has successfully restored the normal pointing mode of the telescope.

The researchers said that the Chandra telescope entered safe mode because one of the gyroscopes failed, resulting in a three-second period of data error, which would cause the onboard computer to calculate the wrong spacecraft momentum value. The wrong momentum value triggers into safe mode, NASA said that the research team has now completed the gyroscope switch, placing the faulty device in an alternate location.

The Hubble telescope has now entered a dormant state due to a similar gyroscope failure. NASA said that the problem of the Chandra telescope has been resolved, but there are still low fuel conditions, and it is not clear how long it will last. It is a coincidence that Chandra and Hubble telescope "sleep" in a week.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who operates the Chandra telescope, tweeted that if the Hubble telescope had a small vacation, I hope the Chandra telescope also has one.

The US political giant provided NASA with sufficient resources and funds to support the large observatory program of the 1970s to complete the launch and maintenance of astronomical observing equipment.

It is reported that four space telescopes have been constructed to observe the entire range of light from gamma rays to infrared radiation. The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory is responsible for observing gamma rays, and the Spitzer Space Telescope is responsible for observing infrared radiation. In addition, the Hubble Space Telescope is responsible for the analysis of visible and near-ultraviolet light, and the Chandra Telescope is responsible for the analysis of X-rays.

They will discover and help uncover the mysteries of black holes, exoplanets, newborn stars, ages of the universe, and the most energetic explosions in the universe. In 2001, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was scrapped due to gyroscope problems and it is expected that the Spitzer telescope will stop working in 2019.

As NASA's remaining two telescopes continue to work into the 2020s, Tom Brown (Tom Brown), head of the Hubble mission at the Space Telescope Science Institute, said: "there is a sudden realization that the Hubble Telescope cannot live forever. "when the Hubble doesn't work, there is no visible or ultraviolet telescope in this range of observations, which is a matter of great concern to project experts."

The James Webb telescope will study infrared radiation in space, but due to delays and errors, the launch date goes on to 2021. NASA is not currently considering replacing the Chandra telescope and further studying X-rays.

"within any given telescope range," said Julie McKinnery, a gamma-ray astrophysicist and successor to the Completon Gamma-Ray Observatory's Fermi Space Telescope project scientist, You must maintain a minimum of activity in order to have expertise in scientific research groups so that you can continue to build new astronomical instruments. "

How does the Hubble telescope gyroscope work?

The induction wheel in the gyroscope maintains 19,200 revolutions per minute. The induction wheel is mounted in a sealed cylinder called a "floating body" that is suspended in a dense liquid.

Current is conducted through the wires to the engine, and the wire diameter is similar to human hair, which is immersed in the liquid. The electronics inside the gyroscope can detect small movements of the center axis of the induction wheel and transmit this information to the central computer of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The gyroscope has two modes - high mode and low mode. The high mode is a simple mode for measuring higher rotational speeds. It is suitable for use when the Hubble telescope is transferred from one observation target to another in space. The low mode is an accurate mode for measuring detailed rotation conditions, suitable for the Hubble telescope to lock an observation target and requires the telescope to remain stationary.

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