NASA's ho-hum discovery of an eighth planet in the Kepler-90 system suggests that the mission has run its course, a writer claims.
NASA hyped up its latest Kepler discovery big time, teasing a few days before the reveal that it had made a major discovery thanks to a partnership with Google’s AI. But the announcement was only that the Kepler-90 star system had eight planets instead of seven, prompting one writer to speculate the Kepler mission is completely toast.
Forbers writer Ethan Siegel said that it was a “mundane” announcement that simply indicated there was another star system with the same number of planets as our own. And it’s a sign that all of the really big discoveries by the Kepler space telescope are in the past.
Siegel said that with all the data Kepler has collected in recent years, it should be able to do better than this if there are more groundbreaking discoveries in its reach. It’s a sign that Kepler has run its course, and that it is “time for the next step” to see what else could be out there.
NASA doesn’t agree, however.
“Just as we expected, there are exciting discoveries lurking in our archived Kepler data, waiting for the right tool or technology to unearth them,” said Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division in Washington. “This finding shows that our data will be a treasure trove available to innovative researchers for years to come.”