After more than five-and-a-half years of probing the cool cosmos, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has run out of the coolant that kept its infrared instruments chilled. The telescope will warm up slightly, yet 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 3:11 p.m. Pacific Time (6:11 p.m. Eastern Time or 22:11 Universal Time), 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.
Additional information, including the following items, is at:
--A full news release about Spitzer's warm mission and past accomplishments
--A mock interview titled "If Spitzer Could Talk: An Interview with NASA's
Coolest Space Mission"
--A video about the Spitzer mission
--An article about the late astronomer Lyman Spitzer, the mission's namesake
Detailed information about the Spitzer mission at
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/spitzer and http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer