In order for the craft to reliably establish the existence of a planet, it's had to track that potential planet's transit across a star several times -- not just once. And that's meant Kepler has had to maintain a precise field of view over time. (It would, of course, take an Earth-size planet in an Earth-like position about a year to circle its star a single time.)
The reaction wheels have been keeping Kepler focused on the stars it's been monitoring. At least, they had been doing that. Read on...
May 19, 2013 12:01 AM PDT
Photo by: Ball Aerospace & Technologies
| Caption by: Edward Moyer
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