Discussion:
Has anybody written any sci-fi about refueling Kepler?
(too old to reply)
a425couple
2018-03-21 17:41:10 UTC
Permalink
Has anybody written any sci-fi about refueling Kepler?
And giving it repairs and a tune-up while they are there?
(good pictures at both sites cited below.)

NASA's Prolific Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft is running out of fuel

NASA's Prolific Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft Is Running Out of Fuel
By Elizabeth Howell, Space.com Contributor | March 16, 2018 03:00pm ET
17 8 MORE
Partner Series
NASA's Prolific Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft Is Running Out of Fuel
A view of Kepler, whose extended mission may be nearing an end as it
runs out of fuel.
Credit: NASA
The Kepler space telescope's prolific planet-hunting days will end soon.
After finding more than 2,300 confirmed planets across its two missions,
Kepler is low on fuel and will run out within several months, according
to NASA engineers.

"Our current estimates are that Kepler's tank will run dry within
several months — but we've been surprised by its performance before! So,
while we anticipate flight operations ending soon, we are prepared to
continue as long as the fuel allows," Charlie Sobeck, system engineer
for the Kepler mission, said in a NASA statement.

"The Kepler team is planning to collect as much science data as possible
in its remaining time and beam it back to Earth before the loss of the
fuel-powered thrusters means that we can't aim the spacecraft for data
transfer," he added. "We even have plans to take some final calibration
data with the last bit of fuel, if the opportunity presents itself."
[Kepler's 7 Greatest Exoplanet Discoveries (So Far)]


The Kepler data will also be plumbed for years as scientists seek to
confirm other possible planets in its archive. As of today (March 16),
Kepler has confirmed the existence of 2,342 planets across its two
missions — about two-thirds of all exoplanets ever discovered. (Just
last month, Kepler scientists released a batch of 95 planets that are
included in this total.) On top of that, there are 2,245 possible
planets that require more observation — a ripe ground for future follow-up.

The $600 million Kepler mission launched in 2009 to search for
exoplanets in a fixed location in the constellation Cygnus. For four
years, it watched the stars for the telltale dimming that occurs when an
exoplanet crosses the face of a star. The mission's ultimate aim was to
find rocky exoplanets that were Earth-size or smaller — a type of planet
rarely found when Kepler went into orbit. But within a few years,
Kepler's data showed that rocky planets are extremely common in the
universe.

Infographic showing how the K2 mission works.
Infographic showing how the K2 mission works.
Credit: NASA
The mission was originally slated to last two years, but it was
extended. In 2013, after four years of operation, three of Kepler's four
gyroscopes — the "wheels" that aimed the craft — failed. Kepler couldn't
maintain a steady gaze in space anymore. So NASA devised a new mission
for the spacecraft, called K2.

Using the pressure of the solar wind to maintain position, the
spacecraft would rotate between different areas of the sky every three
months (which, in the parlance of the mission, is called a "campaign").
This would allow Kepler to keep looking for exoplanets, albeit with a
shorter orbital period. Even with K2, Kepler exceeded expectations.

"Initially, the Kepler team estimated that the K2 mission could conduct
10 campaigns with the remaining fuel," Sobeck said. "It turns out, we
were overly conservative. The mission has already completed 16
campaigns, and this month entered its 17th."

He added that there is no gas gauge on Kepler showing when it might run
out of fuel, so the team relies on estimates. These estimates consider
factors such as changes in thruster performance and drops in the fuel
tank's pressure. But Kepler has an advantage: It's located in deep
space. It's not close to a planet hosting icy moons, unlike the Galileo
mission near Jupiter (which orbited there between 1995 and 2003) and the
Cassini mission near Saturn (which orbited the planet from 2004 to 2017) .

When Cassini and Galileo ran low on fuel, NASA engineers deliberately
aimed these spacecraft on death dives into their respective planets,
just in case the drifting machines accidentally smacked into an icy moon
that has the potential to host life. Kepler, by contrast, can keep going
as long as feasible.

"We can afford to squeeze every last drop of data from the spacecraft —
and ultimately that means bringing home even more data for science,"
Sobeck said. "Who knows what surprises about our universe will be in
that final downlink to Earth?"

While Kepler is in the twilight of its mission, another planet-hunting
spacecraft is ready to take the stage. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet
Survey Satellite will launch no earlier than April 16 from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It will do a full-sky survey of
at least 200,000 stars, focusing on planets orbiting stars that are
brighter and closer to Kepler. This means it will be easier for
scientists do follow-up observations using ground telescopes or the
James Webb Space Telescope that is slated to launch in 2019.

Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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https://www.space.com/40008-kepler-planet-hunter-running-out-of-fuel.html

oh, by the way, from
https://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/keplers-unusual-orbit-54411507/

"Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, which orbits Earth, Kepler has been
placed in what’s called an “Earth trailing” orbit around the sun. A
little wider and slower than our own orbit, the spacecraft will take 371
days to complete one circuit. Each day Kepler falls a little farther
behind Earth—eventually the gap will open to tens of millions of miles.
This unusual orbit, designed by Johnny Kwok of the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory and used for the first time with the Spitzer infrared space
telescope launched in 2003, has advantages for astronomical telescopes.
One is that Earth doesn’t block their view of the sky. The spacecraft
doesn’t need periodic boosts to maintain its altitude above Earth. And
best of all, it’s a very fuel-efficient orbit, requiring less energy
(smaller rocket, lower cost) to reach than the L2 Lagrange point that
originally was to have been Kepler’s destination.
Read more at
https://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/keplers-unusual-orbit-54411507/#JvWMsKwRXFGelud7.99
Jack Bohn
2018-03-21 20:49:36 UTC
Permalink
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...

Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
--
-Jack
Moriarty
2018-03-21 21:19:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.

-Moriarty
Dimensional Traveler
2018-03-21 21:48:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle. Kepler is in a
_Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-03-21 22:27:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimensional Traveler
On Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 7:49:39 AM UTC+11, Jack Bohn
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that
eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the
Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be
embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of
the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the
orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or
specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and
better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's
first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle.
A fairly *low* earth orbit. The shuttle had a pretty limited range,
altitude-wise.
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Kepler
is in a _Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
Farther away than we have *ever* been able to send people.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
J. Clarke
2018-03-21 23:06:30 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:48:40 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle. Kepler is in a
_Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
Perhaps when BFR is flying . . .
Dimensional Traveler
2018-03-22 00:41:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:48:40 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle. Kepler is in a
_Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
Perhaps when BFR is flying . . .
Who's particular Big F'ing Rocket are we talking about?
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
J. Clarke
2018-03-22 02:40:21 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:41:55 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by J. Clarke
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:48:40 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle. Kepler is in a
_Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
Perhaps when BFR is flying . . .
Who's particular Big F'ing Rocket are we talking about?
_The_ BFR. Follow on to Falcon Heavy.

Assuming Tesla doesn't go under and take SpaceX with it.
Greg Goss
2018-03-22 03:22:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by J. Clarke
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:48:40 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle. Kepler is in a
_Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
Perhaps when BFR is flying . . .
Who's particular Big F'ing Rocket are we talking about?
The big test a couple of months ago was the "Falcon Heavy" rocket from
SpaceX. Their future plan is the "Big Falcon Rocket". I suspect that
they're not particularly careful about pronouncing "Falcon".
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Peter Trei
2018-03-22 13:07:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg Goss
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by J. Clarke
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:48:40 -0700, Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Well, they did send up a fix for the Hubble telescope when it's first lens was warped or something.
Hubble was in Earth orbit within reach of the Shuttle. Kepler is in a
_Solar_ orbit millions of miles from Earth.
Perhaps when BFR is flying . . .
Who's particular Big F'ing Rocket are we talking about?
The big test a couple of months ago was the "Falcon Heavy" rocket from
SpaceX. Their future plan is the "Big Falcon Rocket". I suspect that
they're not particularly careful about pronouncing "Falcon".
I've been following this for a while. The BFR was the Big F*cking Rocket until
SpaceX got to the point were there'd be a lot of general publicity about it,
at which point it suddenly became 'Big Falcon Rocket'.

pt
a425couple
2018-03-22 15:36:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Bohn
Refuting Kepler? Brin wrote about a space probe that eventually crashed into the crystal sphere surrounding the Solar System. I think it's a bit late for each planet to be embedded in one, or even just a crystal hoop in the plane of the orbits... although if the hoop was at right angles to the orbit, being the axis for the epicycles...
Oh, *refueling* Kepler! I'm not sure sending people or specialized
machinery would be cheaper than sending a new and better probe.
Oh, you mean like this?

European Space Agency Picks Exoplanet-Studying Spacecraft for 2028 Launch
By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer |
March 21, 2018 07:30am ET

European Space Agency Picks Exoplanet-Studying Spacecraft for 2028 Launch
An artist's illustration of a hot exoplanet "transiting" its host star.
The European Space Agency's newly selected ARIEL (Atmospheric
Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large‐survey) mission will study such
alien worlds to gain clues about exoplanet formation and evolution.
Credit: ESA/ATB medialab, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Getting a better handle on exoplanet diversity and evolution seems to be
a high priority for the European Space Agency (ESA).

ESA has selected the Atmospheric Remote‐sensing Infrared Exoplanet
Large‐survey (ARIEL) project as its next medium-class space mission,
with a launch targeted for 2028.

If all goes according to plan, ARIEL will be the third ESA exoplanet
mission to lift off in a 10-year span. ARIEL will study the atmospheres
of hundreds of exoplanets, looking for a link between the composition
and chemistry of the alien worlds and those of their host stars, ESA
officials said. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]

"ARIEL is a logical next step in exoplanet science, allowing us to
progress on key science questions regarding their formation and
evolution, while also helping us to understand Earth's place in the
universe," Günther Hasinger, ESA's director of science, said in a
statement Tuesday (March 20). "ARIEL will allow European scientists to
maintain competitiveness in this dynamic field. It will build on the
experiences and knowledge gained from previous exoplanet missions."

Such previous missions include ESA's COROT (Convection Rotation and
Planetary Transits) spacecraft, which operated from 2007 through 2012,
and NASA's prolific Kepler space telescope, which has discovered about
two-thirds of the roughly 3,500 confirmed alien planets to date. And, by
the time ARIEL lifts off, several other exoplanet missions will have
made contributions as well.

For example, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is
scheduled to launch next month, on a mission to discover alien worlds
circling some of the sun's nearest neighbors. And ESA's Characterizing
Exoplanets Satellite (CHEOPS) will measure the diameters of alien
planets whose masses are already known, allowing their approximate
composition (rocky versus gaseous) to be deduced. CHEOPS should be ready
to lift off by the end of this year, ESA officials have said.

Europe is also developing a mission called PLATO (Planetary Transits and
Oscillations of Stars) for launch in 2026. This spacecraft will hunt for
rocky alien worlds that could be capable of supporting life. (In
addition, an ESA mission called Gaia, which launched in December 2013,
is expected to discover thousands of alien planets as part of its work
to map and monitor 1 billion Milky Way stars.)

Like COROT and Kepler, all of these upcoming missions — TESS, CHEOPS,
PLATO and ARIEL — will use the "transit method" in their exoplanet work.
That is, they will note and/or study the tiny brightness dips caused
when alien worlds cross the faces of their host stars from the
telescopes' perspective.

ARIEL will focus on planets orbiting relatively close to their stars,
ESA officials said. The spacecraft will launch to the Earth-sun Lagrange
point 2, a gravitationally stable point about 930,000 miles (1.5 million
kilometers) from our planet, and then use its 3.3-foot-wide (1 meter)
telescope to investigate, for at least four years, the atmospheres of
planets circling various types of stars.

"As well as detecting signs of well-known ingredients such as water
vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, it will also be able to measure more
exotic metallic compounds, putting the planet in context of the chemical
environment of the host star," ESA officials said in the same statement.
"For a select number of planets, ARIEL will also perform a deep survey
of their cloud systems and study seasonal and daily atmospheric
variations."

Alien Planet Quiz: Are You an Exoplanet Expert?
Astronomers have confirmed more than 800 planets beyond our own solar
system, and the discoveries keep rolling in. How much do you know about
these exotic worlds?
Start the Quiz
Artist's conception of alien planets Kepler-36b and c
0 of 10 questions complete
ARIEL will collect data in visible and infrared wavelengths of light,
they added.

Medium-class ESA missions like ARIEL (and PLATO) have a cost cap of
around 500 million euros ($610 million). CHEOPS is a small-class
project, meaning it costs about 50 million euros ($61 million). Under
its long-term Cosmic Vision space-science program, ESA is also working
on large-class missions, which top out at around 1 billion euros ($1.2
billion).

ARIEL beat out two other finalists for the upcoming medium-class slot: a
plasma-physics mission called THOR (Turbulence Heating Observer), and
XIPE (X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer), which would have studied
radiation emissions from high-energy sources such as supernovas and
black holes.

You can learn much more about ARIEL here: https://ariel-spacemission.eu

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us
@Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

https://www.space.com/40042-ariel-alien-planet-mission-european-space-agency.html
Lynn McGuire
2018-03-22 21:10:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by a425couple
Has anybody written any sci-fi about refueling Kepler?
And giving it repairs and a tune-up while they are there?
(good pictures at both sites cited below.)
...

_Back to the Moon_ by Travis Taylor and Les Johnson extensively talk
about reusable manned space craft using LEO gas stations to refuel
before going to the Moon. _On to the Asteroid_ may talk about
refueling further out.
https://www.amazon.com/Back-Moon-Travis-Taylor/dp/145163773X/
and
https://www.amazon.com/Asteroid-Travis-S-Taylor/dp/148148267X/
Lynn

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