Why NASA’s Kepler Mission Is Toast
“It was a great mission. The scientists working to extract the last usable pieces of data — both on an ongoing basis from K2 and from the archival data of the original mission — are honestly doing great work. But if you think Kepler-90 is anything like our Solar System, or has eight planets like ours does, you’ve fallen for the NASA hype train.”
We’ve found the very first planetary system out there, beyond our own, with 8 planets in it. At least, that’s what the announcements would have you believe, and it’s kind of true: there are _at least_ 8 planets orbiting Kepler-90. But there are probably many more, and what we’re seeing isn’t reflective of all that’s there, but simply of the limits of the Kepler mission’s data. To go beyond what Kepler has seen, we’ll need better observatories, and that requires both more funding and additional patience. The latest advance was a minuscule drop-in-the-bucket, and rather than teaching us anything about our Solar System, it’s instead teaching us about the absolute limits of what’s possible with all the data NASA’s Kepler mission has ever taken.