NASA Pays Tribute and Says Goodbye to One of the Agency’s Great Observatories

NASA celebrated the far-reaching legacy of the agency’s Spitzer Space Telescope – a mission that, after 16 years of amazing discoveries, has come to an end.

In a special live broadcast, which aired on January 22, featured experts such as NASA’s Director of Astrophysics Paul Hertz; and from the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Spitzer Project Scientist Mike Werner, astrophysicist Farisa Morales, current Mission Manager Joseph Hunt, and former Mission Manager Suzanne Dodd paid tribute to the mission.

One of NASA’s four Great Observatories, Spitzer launched on August 25, 2003 and has studied the cosmos in infrared light. Its breathtaking images have revealed the beauty of the infrared universe.

Spitzer made some of the first studies of exoplanet atmospheres (atmospheres of planets around stars other than our Sun). It confirmed two and discovered five of the seven Earth-sized exoplanets around the star TRAPPIST-1, the largest batch of terrestrial planets ever found around a single star. On January 30, 2020, engineers decommissioned the Spitzer spacecraft and brought this amazing mission to a close.

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