NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is shown airborne with the sliding door over its 17-ton infrared telescope wide open.
Credit: NASA/Jim Ross

 

Today’s gush of water-on-the-Moon stories is heartening.

But I would be remiss not to underscore a recent NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on NASA’s management of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), from which the new lunar observations are predicated:

From the September 14, 2020 OIG report:

“Although responsible for several first-of-its-kind discoveries, SOFIA’s 13-year development delay reduced the Program’s ability to produce impactful science in a cost-effective manner, particularly when compared to the cost of and science produced by other infrared observatories that launched in the interim. Further, SOFIA has not fully utilized its unique capabilities to serve as an instrument test bed due to high instrument development costs, or to fly anytime anywhere because of a lack of instrument scheduling flexibility, the amount of time necessary to switch out instruments, and the prioritization of observations with greater scientific significance.”

In late August 2018, using the high-flying SOFIA and its Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope, observations were made of the lunar surface. Reconnoitered within a 10-minute period was a region at high southern latitudes near Clavius crater. Image taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) wide-angle camera image of Clavius crater.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Again, just sayin’ – or what am I sayin’? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the NASA IG report, go to:

https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-022.pdf

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