SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — NASA has received a gift from an unexpected source: the U.S. satellite spy agency.
The space agency confirmed Monday that it has received a pair of giant identical telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an agency within the Department of Defense that oversees the U.S.'s constellation of spy satellites.
The telescopes have mirrors similar in size to the famed Hubble Space Telescope, and the Washington Post reported that they also have a moveable secondary mirror for more focused images.
NASA says the intelligence agency built them and then decided it no longer needed them, a stark contrast to NASA, which is still struggling to build and finance its own next-generation telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope.
The transfer of the instruments from the NRO to NASA occurred last summer but was only recently declassified.
Even with this windfall, the cash-strapped space agency, which was forced to end its 30-year-shuttle program last year and has run over budget on the Webb telescope, has no money to launch the telescopes anytime soon.
NASA officials said on Monday they likely won't be in use until 2020 at the earliest, two years after the Webb telescope is scheduled to be launched.
For now, the gifted telescopes are of no use to NASA as they lack the cameras and instruments necessary for astronomy research.
The telescopes are currently in upstate New York.
Scientists hope NASA will repurpose one of the telescopes to study mysterious dark energy. — www.shafaqna,com