NASA says Kepler isn't quite dead yetRobbie Gonzalez8/16/13 4:00pmFiled to: spacekeplerscienceastronomyexoplanetsextrasolar planetsastrophysics392EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkAccording to NASA, the ailing Kepler Space Telescope is officially beyond repair, and is hereby relieved of its planet-hunting duties. But the Agency isn't giving up entirely. The question now turns to how the prolific spacecraft might be put to new use, and NASA is open to suggestions.Above: An artist's depiction of Kepler 62f, announced in April to be one of the most Earth-like planets the telescope had discovered to date.NASA's enormously successful telescope had been orbiting the Sun a little over four years when the second of its four gyroscopic reaction wheels – which keep the spacecraft's optics pointed at star systems found in a small patch of the Milky Way – gave up the ghost back in May. Unfortunately, the probe requires three operational reaction wheels to keep its gaze locked onto systems thought to harbor planets in the so-called "goldilocks" zone – the "just right" orbital distance at which a planet is neither too hot nor too cold for the persistence of liquid water and, by extension, life. Attempts to jolt either of the telescope's wheels back into operational order have been unsuccessful.ShareTweet Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service.