SOFIA comes to Moffett | January 18, 2008 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - January 18, 2008

SOFIA comes to Moffett

Local residents wondered what an enormous jumbo jet was doing flying so low over Mountain View on Monday, trailed by an FA-18 fighter jet.

It was the new pride of NASA: a Boeing 747 fitted with a 20-ton, 100-inch infrared telescope in the fuselage that can see from high altitudes — as high as 45,000 feet — what telescopes cannot see from the ground.

Scientists hope the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, will help answer "many fundamental questions about the creation and evolution of the universe, including how stars and planets are formed, how organic materials necessary for life form and evolve, and the nature of the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy," according to NASA's Web site.

NASA plans to have the plane in regular service by 2010.

— Daniel DeBolt


Posted by David, a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2008 at 2:37 pm

SOFIA is NOT planned to be based at Ames. Science operations will be managed at Ames, but the aircraft and all other support functions will be based at the new Dryden facility at Palmdale.