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NASA's champion planet-hunter, which recently suffered a fatal breakdown, is now looking on the sunny side. Despite the loss of its precision steering capability earlier this year, the Kepler space telescope may be able to hunt for planets once more, using a helpful push from the sun.

Engineers behind Kepler discussed the plan, dubbed K2, at the Kepler Science Conference II at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, this week.

K2 will look at a much larger section of the sky than Kepler's original mission – potentially capturing a bigger diversity of planets. It won't be able to stare at the same patch of sky for as long, so K2 will be restricted to hunting for planets that orbit their stars much more closely than Earth does the sun. However, in the cases when such stars are cooler than the sun, some of these could still host life.

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