At a post-shutdown celebration,
Warren Moos, principal investigator, and
William Blair, chief of observatory operations,
congratulate each other on
the conclusion of a mission that far exceeded expectations.
Sonneborn, in orange shirt, looks on.
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
By Lisa De Nike
Originally designed for a three-year mission, the Far Ultraviolet
Spectroscopic Explorer spent
eight years collecting data on everything from nearby stars
and galaxies to quasars and planets. So
few were surprised when the intrepid little space telescope
— managed by Johns Hopkins for NASA
from a control room on the first floor of Homewood's Bloomberg Center for
Physics and Astronomy —
refused to "go gentle into that good night" on its last day
of operation. Scientists and engineers had
to work longer than anticipated on Thursday afternoon to
remotely put to sleep the 18-foot-tall,
3,000-pound satellite, which had spent 130 million seconds
observing about 2,800 heavenly objects.
Principal investigator Warren Moos gave the telescope its
last command at 5:27 p.m. on Oct. 18. FUSE
will continue to orbit the Earth for about 30 years, after
which it will burn up in the atmosphere.
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