Agence France-PresseMay 15, 2013 17:15
NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft appears to be hobbled by a faulty wheel and may be near the end of its four-year mission, space agency scientists said Wednesday.
Kepler, a $600 million mission, was launched in 2009 on a search for other planets. So far, it has found 2,700 candidates, including a handful that may be habitable worlds, not too hot and not too cold.
The problem is a reaction wheel that keeps the spacecraft pointed but has stopped working, said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.