NASA won't repair Kepler telescope
NASA called off all attempts to fix its crippled Kepler space telescope Thursday. But it's not quite ready to call it quits on the remarkable, robotic planet hunter. Officials said they're looking at what science, if any, might be salvaged by using the broken spacecraft as is. The $600 million Kepler mission has been in trouble since May, unable to point with precision at faraway stars in its quest for other potential Earths. Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 135 exoplanets — planets outside our solar system. Kepler is already on an extended quest; its prime, 3 ½-year mission ended in November. If nothing else, new discoveries are expected from data collected over the past four years. "This is not the last you'll hear from Kepler," promised Paul Hertz, NASA's astrophysics director.