Spitzer begins warm mission
Scientists and engineers will recalibrate the telescope.
Provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
May 18, 2009
After more than 5.5 years of probing the cool cosmos, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has run out of the coolant that chilled its infrared instruments. The telescope will warm up slightly, but two of its infrared detector arrays will still operate successfully. The new, warm mission will continue to unveil the far, cold and dusty universe.
Spitzer entered standby mode at 6:11 p.m. EST on May 15 as result of running out of its liquid helium coolant. Scientists and engineers will spend the next few weeks recalibrating the instrument at the warmer temperature and preparing it to begin science operations.