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What a comeback: Revived Kepler spacecraft finds its first new planet
What a comeback: Revived Kepler spacecraft finds its first new planet

It doesn’t pay to bet against Kepler. Even though the NASA spacecraft was hobbled a year and a half ago, the battered telescope has still managed to find a super-Earth. At 20,000 miles across, the newly discovered planet is 2.5 times as wide as Earth and holds about 12 times the mass. The exoplanet known as HIP 116454b, described in a paper set to be published by the Astrophysical Journal, is the first find by Kepler’s new mission, K2. The plucky little planet-hunter was thought by some to be dead in the water when the second of its four reaction wheels broke in 2013, crippling the space telescope. Kepler was able to pick out tiny planets by looking for dips in starlight as...

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