NASA to shut down SOFIA telescope that found water on Moon

What is the News?

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has decided to shut down the SOFIA Telescope that confirmed the presence of water on the Moon.

What is the SOFIA Telescope?

SOFIA stands for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy,

It is a 2.7-meter infrared telescope sitting inside a Boeing 747SP airplane flying at an altitude of 38,000-45,000 feet above the surface.

Collaboration between: NASA and the German Space Agency(DLR). 

Purpose: To observe cosmic objects in far-infrared wavelengths. This allows researchers to watch star formation by looking through huge, cold clouds of gas.

Significance: It is the world’s largest flying telescope. It is also the second-most expensive astrophysics mission.

Important discoveries made by SOFIA Telescope

Water on the Moon:  In 2020, NASA announced that SOFIA discovered water molecules(H2O) on the sun-facing side of the Moon. The site is the Clavius Crater located in the Moon’s Southern Hemisphere. 

Helium Hydride in the Universe: In 2019, SOFIA discovered helium hydride — the first molecule formed in the Universe almost 14 billion years ago.

SOFIA also identified atmospheric circulation patterns in Jupiter.

Source: The post is based on the article “NASA to shut down SOFIA telescope that found water on Moon” published in Down To Earth on 3rd May 2022. 

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