The Kepler spacecraft has been made operational again remotely by NASA and as of April 22, 2016 is back on its K2 mission searching for exoplanets, which are planets beyond our Solar System. On July 23, 2015 Kepler discovered the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a star acting as a sun. This effort helps to find another “Earth” which may inhabit life forms.
Sent out to detect Earth-sized planets, orbiting other stars in a portion of our Milky Way galaxy, Kepler measures small variations in the brightness of light from these stars. Kepler is shown here at 1/20th scale in the NASA JPL/Caltech museum. The Kepler spacecraft, in 2014, discovered Kepler-10c, a large, rocky planet in the Draco constellation 560 light-years from Earth. Scientists believe that rocky planets formed much earlier than originally thought. And one astrophysicist said that if you can make rocks, you can make life. (Image from the NASA JPL/Caltech museum.)