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Hubble fix-up funds cut (MSN 21 Jan)

  1. Jan 21, 2005 #1

    marcus

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6853009/

    the white house cut entire budget for hubble
    "NASA told to focus on destroying telescope safely"
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2005 #2

    Chronos

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    It is a sad thing to see the Hubble go meteor, but the economics are just not there. Projects already on the board will accomplish more. Hopefully they will all come to fruition. NASA learned a great deal from the Hubble - as much about technological shortcomings as cosmology.
     
  4. Jan 22, 2005 #3

    marcus

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    Here are some more angles on it,

    the 8 December 2004 National Academies report favoring a manned fix-up mission to continue the telescope's use.

    http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309095301?OpenDocument

    Some comment at Sean Carroll's blog "Preposterous Universe":

    http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/

    Space.com article:

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/hubble_reaction_050121.html

    You may be better informed, Chronos, so I cant argue. I am not equiped to weigh it like a NAS committee. So I can only post some links.

    I guess it is still up to Congress to decide. At the moment there is for me the matter of the role and prestige of NAS (set up over a century ago to advise Congress on science matters). Wonder how they are taking it at NAS. Having their advice on this (which Congress requested) disregarded by the whitehouse on an exposed issue like this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2005
  5. Jan 23, 2005 #4
    Give The Hubble To The World

    In the days following The Inauguration, and feeling a mandate, it is announced that the Hubble Space Telescope will be destroyed. There is talk that this is typical hype, surrounding a funding squabble. Others in the scientific community point out the cost and other projects on the horizon which have similar capability, which could also be scrapped, on a whim, once the Hubble is destroyed. Apparently there is a lot of expensive equipment sitting here on Earth that needs to be shuttled up to the Hubble, items that have already been purchased at considerable expense.

    In my lifetime, when I consider all the efforts of NASA, and the efforts of Scientists to share their visions with the largely disinterested, I have never seen a more luminous achievement, than The Hubble Space Telescope.

    Fraught with outrageous errors at the outset, myopia, and all, it has brought more fantastic insight to the workings of the cosmos, than an aircraft carrier full of Astronomy texts, ever could have. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the pictures from the Hubble have delivered to us billions of insights into the persistent mystery of what lies beyond the atmospheric skin of this lonely, little, world.

    Few children have not seen the towering Pillars Of Creation, in the Crab Nebula, or wondered at the various types of glowing structures through out our Universe, brought so clearly in to our view, by the Hubble. The birth of Stars, the collision of Galaxies enormous beyond proper comprehension, can be viewed by each of us, high or low. I wonder over these haunting images, captured in time, that tell of the enormity of this timeline, and the spectacle of creation strung out like impossible radiant jewels through the black vastness of eternity as we know it.


    This amazing instrument is now treated like an expensive car, that rather than being properly kept up, will be destroyed, because the owner caught his wife having sex in the back seat with the butler.


    I say that this expensive piece of property that belongs to the People Of The United States, has a unique value to the People Of The Planet Earth. We should realize that it is time, to let go of our sole proprietorship, and release the care of the Hubble to a larger body of interests. I say let the Hubble be shared with the ESA, and Astronomers from around the world. Let the funding for upkeep, come from a consortium, created to keep the world's view of the Cosmos open, and available, and out of the reach of military funding considerations.


    The amount of money needed to rescue the Hubble, is the cost of one B-1 Bomber. We have more than one hundred thousand troops on the ground in Iraq, with their lives on the line, on a daily basis. Astronauts, signed up, knowing there would be risks, let them work, to repair this miracle. Let us share the cost, and benefits of the Hubble Space Station. Rather than keeping space, a war zone; let us make sure space is a zone of unparalleled cooperation, between all nations.


    The idea of scrapping the Hubble, is the ultimate in "throw away society" mentality. It also represents a cavalier trivialization of the interests of Scientists, Educators, Children, and The People Of the World, that have delighted in the imagery from The Hubble Space Telescope, for so long.
     
  6. Jan 23, 2005 #5

    Garth

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    Well said.

    Garth
     
  7. Jan 23, 2005 #6
    This idea makes too much sense. Therefore it will never happen.
     
  8. Jan 23, 2005 #7
    Thank you, Dayle for your eloquent post. There are many ways that off the shelf hardware can be used to save the Hubble. The current plan is to dock a maneuvering rocket with the Hubble and crash it into the Pacific. It is considered too dangerous to service the Hubble in its current orbit with the shuttle. Instead why not move the Hubble with a robotic tug. If you have to make a docking to crash it then use the same docking to save it by moving it into an orbit from which it can be serviced by the shuttle. The orbital mechanics of this operation are beyond my mathematical ability but it does not seem like an insurmountable problem to change the orbital inclination and altitude.
    Why not use the ion engine developed for the Deep Space One. It is successful, tested hardware. Better yet use the Boeing 702, the big brother of the engine used on the Deep Space One. It has almost twice the thrust. According to their website there are 16 on order. It has an ISP of 3800 seconds and 165 mN of thrust. Use as many as necessary. Take as long as necessary. The test model of the Deep Space One ran for over 24,000 hours. I do not think this propulsion system would damage or contaminate the Hubble. Once it is in ISS orbit service it with the shuttle as previously planned, refuel the maneuvering craft and move it back to its original altitude.
    There are certainly more capable people to determine exactly how to do this than me. It seems that it is a failure of will. Just do it!
     
  9. Jan 23, 2005 #8

    Chronos

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    I still think it's a matter of economics. What we learned from the Hubble will enable us to do more with the same resources it would take to keep it running. Smaller, more specialized probes can do the same job cheaper. Look at the projects on the board at NASA. They are terrific.
     
  10. Jan 24, 2005 #9
    Just because the projects are onboard, doesn't mean that they will be funded. This piece of elegant equipment is there, and people are coming and going from space, with regularity. Let us get one of those groups to push the Hubble into proper orbit. It is as if the boys bought some fun ATVs, and want to just junk their nerdy telescope.
     
  11. Jan 24, 2005 #10

    JesseM

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    Are there any projects on board that will be able to do ultraviolet astronomy? The James Webb telescope won't.
     
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