Orbiting Telescope Will Retire

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2007 7:18 PM CDT
In a new ultraviolet image released by NASA 05 May, 2007, the...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – An orbiting telescope whose findings were the basis of over 1,200 research papers will be shut down tomorrow, after an unexpectedly productive eight-year run, The Discovery Channel reports. The Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) detected a bubble of gas surrounding the Milky Way, located remains of exploded stars, and measured elements of the Big Bang.

Launched in 1999, FUSE was designed for a three-year run, and early mechanical failures threatened to cut it even shorter. But in a series of ingenious engineering moves, such as using the earth's gravitational field as a stabilizer, ground control teams were able to keep the telescope operational until this July, when a final malfunction put it beyond repair.