NASA shuts down telescope, infrared eyes to cosmos

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — NASA is pulling the plug on one of its great space observatories.

The Spitzer Space Telescope has been scanning the universe with infrared eyes for 16 years. The end comes Thursday when ground controllers put the spacecraft into permanent hibernation.

Spitzer peered through dusty clouds at stars and galaxies, and uncovered a huge, nearly invisible ring around Saturn. The telescope also helped discover seven Earth-size planets around a nearby star.

It’s been in decline for years, becoming increasingly difficult to operate while trailing Earth around the sun. Its last observation is expected Wednesday.

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