NASA Will Shut Down The Spitzer Space Telescope In 2020

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The Spitzer Space Telescope conveyed a large amount of valuable information during 16 years of service, including the discovery of several exoplanets, the in-depth study of the ancient galaxy and essential data about the planets and other objects found in the solar system.

However, to keep it, functional funds are needed. As NASA focuses on large-scale initiatives, the amount of available funds for older missions continues to diminish. The space agency attempted to secure external funding for the Spitzer Space Telescope, but the initiative was met with failure.

With the help of a silent blog post, the agency announced that Spitzer’s mission would reach an end in 2020. Many researchers hoped that Spitzer would remain operational until the James Webb Space Telescope is launched. The schedule for the new observatory aims at a launch window in 2021, and a large number of funds spent on the development of the spacecraft.

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to be shut down in 2020

The final data pack collected by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope will be downloaded on January 30th, 2020. After the task is completed, a final command will turn off, ending one of the most iconic and productive missions. The last data will be archived and offered freely to interested researchers. While the spacecraft will cease its activity, the amount of data collected in 16 years will provide plenty of material for future studies.

An assessment elaborated by an independent panel of researchers placed Spitzer in the last position of a list which examined six projects. The board didn’t recommend the termination of the mission, but NASA has to prioritize its expenses.

Spending a significant amount of money on extended missions can lead to some delays in the case of future ones since the latter requires constant investment before they are successfully launched. While two entities appeared to show interest in taking over Spitzer Space Telescope, they were unable to secure the funds needed to complete the process.


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