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Artist's concept of the Spitzer Space Telescope. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech-ESA/Hubble/Digitized Sky Survey 2

The long-running Spitzer Space Telescope is nearing the end of its mission, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced in a quietly posted blog entry on May 16. The spacecraft's last day of operations is set for Jan. 30, 2020.

Why it matters: Spitzer transformed our understanding of the universe. The telescope — which looks out at the universe in infrared light — has helped astronomers clock the expansion of the universe, map the Milky Way and discover black holes.

The telescope has been a workhorse for NASA, beaming home images and discoveries for 16 years.

Details: According to a tweet from Aviation Week & Space Technology editor Irene Klotz, NASA considered "private entities" to take over operations of the telescope, "but none could secure funding."

  • Scientists and members of the public are now posting remembrances of the telescope on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #spitzerfinalvoyage.
  • NASA is planning to launch its next infrared observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, to orbit in 2021.

But, but, but: While the spacecraft's mission is ending, the science from it will not. Scientists will still be able to analyze and reanalyze the data Spitzer beamed to Earth during its long life in space.

What they're saying: "The people who operate the observatory are a family and we are surrounded by our cousins, the science community who have so creatively driven the science of the mission," Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, Spitzer project manager, wrote in the blog post announcing the end of the mission. "When I started on this path I could not have imagined how rewarding this journey would be."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

14 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.