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Hubble gonna die?

  1. Jul 26, 2009 #1
    I never knew this before today but apparently NASA decided not to save Hubble because of the Columbia incident?

    Instead they are fitting it with a circular 'thing' that a rocket can latch onto to make Hubbles decent into Earth safe and away from inhabitated areas. I always thought that they would go back up there and get the telecope and bring it back down...

    the telescope was quite a feat in my opinion.

    I'm assuming you guys already know about this but whats your thoughts on the matter? Should hubble just crash into Earth or be put into a museum..
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Your information is out of date. STS-125, the HST servicing mission, landed two months ago.
     
  4. Jul 26, 2009 #3
    I don't think that makes my question moot though...
     
  5. Jul 26, 2009 #4

    russ_watters

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    Yes, the Hubble is just going to be discarded after its life ends. Though it might be nice to have it in the Smithsonian, it isn't worth a half a billion dollars to put it there.
     
  6. Jul 26, 2009 #5
    Would it be possible for an unmanned mission to bring Hubble down safely? Or maybe adjust it's orbits decay every now and then so it doesn't get destroyed until it's more practical to retrieve it?
     
  7. Jul 26, 2009 #6

    russ_watters

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    Perhaps - it would probably still cost about half a billion dollars. The space shuttle is the only vehicle we have that could bring it back. It is fairly well automated - it can fly an entire mission by itself - but I'm not sure if it could retrieve a satellite by itself.
    ...at maybe a few tens of millions of dollars a year. Not much cheaper in the long run.
     
  8. Jul 26, 2009 #7

    Pengwuino

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    How much did building Hubble (minus placing it in orbit) cost anyhow? Maybe we could build another and put it in the Smithsonian and just pretend we went up and retrieved it :rofl: It's not like Hubble got rusty or damaged up there! :biggrin:
     
  9. Jul 26, 2009 #8
    THe most recent mission attached an adapter so that Ares will be able to dock and service the telescope.
     
  10. Jul 26, 2009 #9

    mgb_phys

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    Probably wouldn't be allowed - what radiation background would Hubble have by now?
     
  11. Jul 26, 2009 #10
    I'm pretty sure it's so it can dock and bring it down to Earth without crashing into a inhabited area. I guess they COULD build a replica... but would it be the same? I guess russ is right though the economics as well as the safety of humans just isn't there to bring back the telescope.
     
  12. Jul 27, 2009 #11
    Are you saying it has absorbed radiation to the level that it may be dangerous?
     
  13. Jul 27, 2009 #12

    mgb_phys

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    Dangerous no, exceeding regulatory limits for something on public display in a federal building - probably.
     
  14. Jul 27, 2009 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    I would be very surprised if the Hubble were activated. Exposed to radiation, sure. But I doubt very much that it's been activated, which usually takes very high energies and very high fluxes.

    The Space Shuttle has about a 98% success rate. That means the expectation number of astronauts who die per mission is 0.14. Is that worth bringing it back so it can go in a museum?
     
  15. Jul 27, 2009 #14

    mgb_phys

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    There was a consideration of bringing it back to Earth for servicing after the original mirror cock-up.
    IIRC the shuttle can (in theory) land with about 22,000kg of payload, the HST weighs 11,000kg. But I don't think there has been a landing with a significant payload.

    The objection at the time was that since a spare mirror wasn't available if it landed and had to wait 3years for a replacement the whole project would probably just die.

    HST isn't the biggest object to re-enter but the mirror is likely to survive intact and would make a mess of anything it landed on if it wasn't aimed at the right bit of ocean.
     
  16. Jul 27, 2009 #15
    Well can't they just do it on the way to some other mission? :D
     
  17. Jul 27, 2009 #16

    russ_watters

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    No other vehicle is capable of bringing it down.
     
  18. Jul 28, 2009 #17

    Pengwuino

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    I think he means if it's possible for the shuttle, on say a resupply mission to the ISS, could have a side trip to Hubble.
     
  19. Jul 28, 2009 #18

    russ_watters

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    Oh.... well that doesn't make any sense either. It's like saying on your way from New York to London, you could stop in Sydney to pick up some opera tickets. It isn't on the way.
     
  20. Jul 28, 2009 #19
    Doesn't the hubble have some thrusters on it? If its not on the way, make it so.
     
  21. Jul 28, 2009 #20

    Chronos

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    The James Webb will be a fitting replacement for the Hubble. Bringing down the Hubble is an expensive proposition, as noted by others. There is no easy way to refold and load it into a shuttle. I prefer we spend that money launching a better instrument.
    \
     
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