"The wheels are sufficiently damaged that they cannot sustain spacecraft pointing control for any extended period of time," Charles Sobeck, Kepler deputy project manager at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, told reporters during a conference call on Thursday.
NASA is now soliciting ideas for other missions for Kepler that do not require such precise pointing.
NEWS: Time Really Flies on These Kepler Planets
Options include searching for asteroids, comets, supernovas and other celestial objects.
"At this time, we don't know if any of these concepts are practical," said Kepler lead scientist William Borucki, also with Ames.
Kepler scientists also still have about two years of archived data to analyze. So far, the telescope is credited with finding 135 confirmed extrasolar planets and has identified another 3,548 candidate planets.
"We expect many more discoveries," Borucki said. "The Kepler mission is in no way done."
An artist rendering pf Kepler-62f, one of the 135 planets found by the Kepler space telescope. Image: NASA