NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which launched Aug. 25, 2003, will begin an extended mission—the “Beyond” phase—on Oct. 1, 2016.
This mission was designed to last at least two-and-a-half years; 13 years later, Spitzer has operated far beyond the scope of the original mission.
Spitzer’s infrared vision has revealed the Universe in new ways, from mapping extrasolar planet temperatures, to discovering a ring around Saturn hundreds of times larger than any previously known.
Spitzer has also discovered tiny buckyball molecules in space, and produced a 360-degree infrared panorama of the Milky Way.
Video Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech