NASA's Costly SOFIA  End But Its Legacy Is Alive

Telescope Has Reached Its

NASA and the German Aerospace

 Center did, and decided that the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)

Which is a plane-lofted telescope

that has revealed some of the biggest discoveries in the history of the field — will officially shut down for keeps

According to a Nature report.

it was a very costly endeavor, and faced increased scrutiny in the last several years — namely, that despite its contributions to the field, it wasn't worth the bill,

In service as an airborne observatory

 SOFIA is flown up to 42,000 ft (12,800 m) — taking it to an altitude where 99.9 percent of the water vapor on Earth lies below it.

On October 26, 2020,

NASA announced that its SOFIA telescope had discovered water on the sunward-facing surface of the moon.

In March of 2021, it was revealed

that SOFIA had detected a critical fingerprint of life on the comet Catalina — which passed by Earth at unspeakable velocities in 2016.

Infrared analysis of the comet by

 SOFIA offered data on its composition, revealing dust and gas in the process of evaporation from the comet's surface — which is how the tail is formed