Over its ten years in space, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has evolved into a premier tool for studying exoplanets. The engineers and scientists behind Spitzer did not have this goal in mind when they designed the observatory back in the 1990s. But thanks to its extraordinary stability, and a series of engineering reworks after launch, Spitzer now has observational powers far beyond its original limits and expectations.
This artist's concept shows Spitzer surrounded by examples of exoplanets the telescope has examined.
Illustration credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Note: For more information, see How Engineers Revamped Spitzer to Probe Exoplanets.