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NASA's Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft in jeopardy




The diagram compares the planets of the inner solar system to Kepler-69, a two-planet system about 2,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The two planets of Kepler-69 orbit a star that belongs to the same class as our sun, called G-type.
The diagram compares the planets of the inner solar system to Kepler-69, a two-planet system about 2,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The two planets of Kepler-69 orbit a star that belongs to the same class as our sun, called G-type.
NASA/JPL

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Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of NASA's Spacecraft Kepler. Its four-year mission is to explore strange new worlds, and pretty much the rest of that famous "Star Trek" intro line. But on this week of the big opening of the new movie, there is sadness in actual space science.

The Kepler spacecraft — a giant telescope launched in 2009 — is malfunctioning and may be at the end of its journey.

Charlie Sobeck is the deputy project manager for Kepler at Ames Research Center in Northern California joins the show to explain what's going wrong and what it means for NASA's quest to discover alien planets.