A rare incident left NASA's aerospace engineers scratching their heads. The Kepler spacecraft in charge of finding new plants went into what NASA calls, 'emergency mode'. Allegedly the mode only switches on when it goes through some sort of turmoil and as a result, according to ArsTechnica, "limits its activity and burns through the probe's limited fuel supply at an accelerated pace."
NASA's official website reported that mission operation engineers had successfully recovered the spacecraft from the Emergency Mode and also saved the amount of fuel it was starting to burn through.
On Sunday morning, the spacecraft reached a stable state with the communication antenna pointed toward Earth, enabling telemtry and historical event data to be downloaded to the ground. The spacecraft is operating in its lowest fuel-burn mode.
Kepler was supposed to perform a maneuver to line up with the center of the Milky Way but entered Emergency Mode fourteen hours before it got the chance to. NASA says this is the first time in seven years in space that the spacecraft has gone into Emergency Mode or performed strangely. In a statement, NASA said:
It was the quick response and determination of the engineers throughout the weekend that led to the recovery. We are deeply appreciative of their efforts, and for the outpouring of support from the mission's fans and followers from around the world. We also recognize the tremendous support from NASA's Deep Space Network, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and to NASA's other missions that surrended their scheduled telemtry links in order to provide us with the resources needed to protect the Kepler spacecraft.
Now the task of figuring out exactly what forced Kepler into it's Emergency Mode must happen through logging into the spacecraft now that communication has been reestablished.
Perhaps, aliens don't want us to find their home planets? Who knows what might have sent into Emergency Mode but at least they got it back. A win for aerospace engineers.