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NASA to attempt to fix Kepler this month
Posted: Tue, Jul 9, 2013, 5:40 AM ET (0940 GMT)
Kepler spacecraft illustration (NASA/Ames) Engineers are working on long-shot plans to revive one or both failed reaction wheels on the Kepler space telescope that would allow the spacecraft to resume its planet-hunting mission. Project officials said last week they are preparing commands to send to Kepler later this month to see if two reaction wheels that were shut down over of course of its mission can be revived. Kepler launched with four reaction wheels, which provide fine pointing control; it needs three working wheels in order to perform its observations of stars, looking for minute, periodic dips in brightness of those stars caused by passing exoplanets. Project officials cautioned, though, that "the odds are not good" that one of the failed wheels can be restored.
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