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Nasa's K2 Mission: The Kepler Space Telescope's Second Chance to Shine


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Rocky object vaporizing

In this artist's conception, a tiny rocky object vaporizes as it orbits a white dwarf star. Astronomers have detected the first planetary object transiting a white dwarf using data from the K2 mission. Slowly the object will disintegrate, leaving a dusting of metals on the surface of the star.

Credit: CfA/Mark A. Garlick

The engineers huddled around a telemetry screen, and the mood was tense. They were watching streams of data from a crippled spacecraft more than 50 million miles away—so far that even at the speed of light, it took nearly nine minutes for a signal to travel to the spacecraft and back.

From Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA
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