The Kepler space telescope, which has been instrumental in the discovery of more than 2,000 exoplanets, may be at a sudden end of its extended mission.
The spacecraft has suffered a malfunction involving a device that stabilizes its camera.
“With the failure of a second reaction wheel, it’s unlikely that the spacecraft will be able to return to the high pointing accuracy that enables its high-precision photometry,” NASA said in a statement Wednesday.
The probe was launched in 2009 and completed its initial mission last autumn.
The Eta Aquariid meteor shower, which lets Earthlings view fragments of Halley’s comet, will peak tomorrow night. You’ll have to get up pretty early in the morning to see the meteors, though.