NASA bids farewell to the Spitzer Space Telescope


TechSpot Staff
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Named in honor of the famed astronomer, Lyman Spitzer, NASA's infrared space telescope launched into space in 2003. On Thursday, it was finally decommissioned, laying the groundwork for the James Web Space Telescope (JWST) in making future discoveries.

"Spitzer has taught us about entirely new aspects of the cosmos and taken us many steps further in understanding how the universe works, addressing questions about our origins, and whether or not are we alone," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Throughout its mission, the spacecraft made several significant scientific contributions. It was the first telescope to directly observe light from an exoplanet and also led to the creation of the first-ever exoplanet "weather map." It also identified a new infrared ring around Saturn in 2009, and improved scientists' understanding of the evolution of galaxies, comets, and asteroids.

According to NASA, the spacecraft's most remarkable achievement was the detection of the "seven Earth-size planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system – the largest number of terrestrial planets ever found orbiting a single star. It also aided in determining their masses and densities."

The telescope was given the final shutdown command, and has now closed its shutter as it goes into "safe mode." With its radio dish now pointed towards Earth, Spitzer will make its last transmission, sending the one final data load it has collected.

"I think that Spitzer is an example of the very best that people can achieve," noted Spitzer Project Scientist Micheal Werner. "[I feel] very fortunate to have worked on this mission, and to have seen the ingenuity, doggedness, and brilliance that people on the team showed. When you tap into those things and empower people to use them, then truly incredible things will happen."

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I heard the real reason it was being "retired" was that it had been sexually assaulting many other space telescopes over the past dozen years or so and NASA wanted to avoid a lawsuit. I vaguely recall that the Hubble telescope had recounted a harrowing tale about the unwanted aggressive come-ons it had suffered while working with Spitzer about 10 years ago :)


TechSpot Addict
...says the guy who replies to every single article with complete nonsense.
Is it nonsense, or is it that you're not capable of understanding it? Big difference..!

Do you think you would get the jokes if it were slapped up in a string of emojis?