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Kepler probe suspends planet hunt to send data

Kepler space telescope
An artist’s conception shows NASA’s Kepler space telescope. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / STScI Illustration)

NASA has hit the pause button on observations by its most prolific planet-hunting probe, the Kepler space telescope, so that it can download 51 days’ worth science data without interruption. The reason? Kepler’s fuel tanks are close to empty. After the download, Kepler will resume data gathering — that is, assuming there’s any fuel left.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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