NASA's Kepler Discovers New Planet, 'Serial' Podcast Finale Released
Kepler makes a comeback in space while fans tuned into the "Serial" podcast.
By ABC NEWS
December 19, 2014, 3:24 PM
• 3 min read
title: 'Serial' Podcast Finale
text: "Serial," from the creators of public radio's "This American Life," released its finale on Thursday after holding listeners in suspense week by week since early October. The series took listeners through the 15-year-old murder of Maryland teenager Hae Min Lee. No spoilers here, but the spin-off of "This American Life" will return for a second season, thanks to donations from listeners.
title: NASA's Kepler Finds New Planet
text: The Kepler space telescope has discovered a planet outside our solar system more than a year after its mission came to an end because of a technical failure. The new "exoplanet," which means it doesn't orbit Earth's sun, is 2.5 times the diameter of the Earth. The planet is named HIP 116454b, NASA said yesterday.
Kepler's mission came to an end in May 2013 with the failure of the second of four reaction wheels, which are used to stabilize the spacecraft. But a team of scientists and engineered crafted a solution by using pressure from sunlight as a "virtual reaction wheel" to help control the spacecraft, NASA said.
"Last summer, the possibility of a scientifically productive mission for Kepler after its reaction wheel failure in its extended mission was not part of the conversation," said Paul Hertz, NASA's astrophysics division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington, in a statement. "Today, thanks to an innovative idea and lots of hard work by the NASA and Ball Aerospace team, Kepler may well deliver the first candidates for follow-up study by the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize the atmospheres of distant worlds and search for signatures of life."
title: Tragedy in Cairns, Australia
text: Eight children were found killed on Friday inside a home in Cairns, a city in northern Australia. A 34-year-old woman found with chest wounds was believed to be the mother of seven of the children. The eighth child was believed to be one of her relatives, police said. Officials said they had not formally identified any suspects, nor would they state how the children died, but they don't believe a murderer is still at large.
title: Stephen Colbert Retires 'The Colbert Report'
text: Late-night television personality Stephen Colbert hosted the last episode of "The Colbert Report" Thursday night before he takes the reigns from David Letterman for CBS' "The Late Show." Colbert was joined by stars including "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston and Katie Couric, after hosting nine years of the mock conservative politics show.
title: 'Team America' Won't Fill Void From 'The Interview'
text: After theaters and Sony said they were pulling comedic film "The Interview," theaters said they would show "Team America: World Police," a puppet-based film highlighting North Korea. But Paramount Pictures, the studio behind 2004's "Team America," reportedly told the theaters it would not allow the film to be shown. Capitol Theater in Cleveland tweeted that the screening “has been canceled by Paramount Pictures."