If I do a bit of arithmetic, it looks like they have gotten 7 years out of a 5yr tool...hmm.?
Does anyone have any info about when or if the shuttles will fly again?
I last heard in Feb. 2005
There is a serious movement [that appears to be growing] to save the Hubble. This problem may not help that effort.
When one considers the work rate and lifespan of Earth bound functional devises..say a 'webcamera attached to a computer window's operating system'..I think the fatigue that Hubble is currently experiencing is a small price for almost perfect continuous workrate( only one small blink :yuck: ) in the whole continueous existence, will need a long break soon, what are we going to do without this amazing tool?
Let us hope that the decision is made to keep it functioning until a replacement is in place. I do not think the work it can do is complete. Does not the entire field of cosmology rely on this tool for observations? What advances can be made without it, or a replacement, in working order.
The Large Binocular Telescope is scheduled for full operation in 2005, IIR. It will have adaptive optics that will allow it to acheive even higher resolution than one might expect from the large baseline - designed to deliver 10 times the resolution of Hubble and LOTS more light-gathering power. It will be hampered by absorbtion of some wavelengths by the atmosphere, unlike Hubble - which is still a critically-needed tool! Wonderful instruments like this can't manage to supercede one another - they enhance each other. There are some great old telescopes doing very valuable research - HST is a baby compared to many of them.
The "replacement" space telescope won't be on-line until at least 2011, and it will be optimized for imaging in the infrared. Please contact your US Reps and Senators and explain to them that these valuable tools shouldn't be subject to "either/or" logic. HST can be viable for many more years with proper maintenance and might be capable of much more than it can do currently, if we can upgrade its detectors - surely the on-board sensors were state of the art 10 years ago, but might be improved with today's technology.
I also hope the decision will be made to keep the Hubble functioning, though Nasa has announced that it will not perform any more shuttle maintenance, because the shuttle wouldn't be able to to rendezvous with the ISS in the event of an emergency.
See for instance
Good thing the Europeans built the VLT.
There's apparently more politics going on too, of course, though the safety concerns are real. If I keep talking anymore I'm going to start flaming, so I'd better shut up now, except to add that I don't see the situation wrt Hubble repair changing while Bush is president.
NASA Approves Robotic Rescue Mission for Hubble
But it's not gonna be "cheap"
Hubble has been so good to us :(
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