Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA chief scientist, likes to talk about the agency’s quest for civilization-changing discoveries, modern day equivalents to the observations of Jupiter’s moons by 17th-century astronomer Galileo Galilei that shattered the notion of Earth as the center of the Universe.  Few missions meet such lofty objectives, but one that hit the mark is the Kepler Space Telescope, a relatively low-cost spacecraft that ran out of fuel in October after more than nine ...

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