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November 23 2012

4 more years! Kepler's planet-hunting mission extended


NASA's planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope has begun its extended mission, which should keep the prolific instrument searching for alien worlds for another four years, agency officials announced Wednesday.

Kepler officially embarked upon the extended mission after completing its 3 1/2-year prime mission, which aimed to determine how common Earth-like planets are throughout the galaxy. The extended phase, which NASA announced this past April, funds the instrument through at least fiscal year 2016.

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