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NASA gets two spy telescopes as gifts

The space agency received the telescopes over a year ago and scientists have been testing their potential for space exploration in secret ever since.

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The National Reconnaissance Office gives NASA two Hubble-like spy telescopes for scientific use. (NASA/Getty Images)

NASA has received two former spy telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), gifts that may help explore the 'dark energy' behind the expansion of the universe - a new priority for space experts.

The space agency received the telescopes over a year ago and scientists have been testing their potential for space exploration in secret ever since.

Both new telescopes are said to be as big as the Hubble telescope.

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The New York Times reported that NASA scientists have decided that instead of pointing at Earth in order to spy on countries, the telescopes might be best used to look outward to explore the expansion of the universe.

NASA recently retired its ability to fix the Hubble telescope making the new acquisitions ever more important during a period of cutbacks at the agency.

The NRO has stated that it will not discuss why the two telescopes were taken out of service and what their purpose was in the first place, Discovery said.

“This is not something we’re going to talk about,” said a spokeswoman for the NRO, Loretta Desio, reported the New York Times.

“We’re hoping this becomes a NASA story.”

Although the new devices will save NASA millions of dollars as they are already built, the agency will have to equip them for their new mission - a task that would mean that they will not be in service until after 2020, reported the Washington Post.

The NRO is a secret US agency that is believed to undertake spy missions from space.

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120604/nasa-gets-two-spy-telescopes-gifts