SPACE http://www.space.com/19363-alien-planet-nasa-kepler-website.html (1/22, Kramer) reports, "Scientists with NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft have revamped the mission's online archive of alien worlds, opening up the database for the entire world to see." With the "NASA Exoplanet Archive" now available to the public, "scientists have started shoveling out all the data Kepler collects into a comprehensive list" instead of waiting until candidates are confirmed to be made public.
SPACE http://www.space.com/19360-kepler-telescope-alien-planets-glitch.html (1/22, Wall) reports, "NASA's prolific planet-hunting Kepler space telescope has been placed in a precautionary 'safe mode' after engineers noticed a problem with the instrument's orientation mechanism." Kepler officials, in discussing the decision to place the spacecraft into safe mode on January 17, said, "Resting the [reaction] wheels provides an opportunity to redistribute internal lubricant, potentially returning the frictio
Titan's siblings must be jealous. While most of Saturn's moons display their ancient faces pockmarked by thousands of craters, Titan – Saturn's largest moon, may look much younger than it really is because its craters are getting erased. Dunes of exotic, hydrocarbon sand are slowly but steadily filling in its craters, according to new research using observations from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
It has been more than three-and-a-half-years since the Kepler mission launched in March 2009. The spacecraft has continued in its heliocentric, drift-away orbit and is now more than 45 million miles away from Earth. The Kepler project team has completed two science data downloads since the last update. The most recent data download on Jan. 11, 2013 included a quarterly roll to winter attitude.