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Stargazing Hubble telescope, finite life?

  1. Aug 3, 2011 #1
    Hey, not sure if this is the correct forum but it seems physics will ultimately bring down the telescope. Why cant we leave the hubble in space until it doesnt work anymore? It doesnt have any space crew to kill, it would break up on re-entree harming no-one and would continue to inspire our curiosity in the beauty of Space.

    I Just finished reading an article saying that the Hubbles replacement, the James Webb Space telescope, may be abandoned after US budget cuts, a real stab at the heart! In conjunction with the ending of the Shuttle program I am feeling quite saddened, sensing the short-medium term (hopefully not) end of our exploration.

    Or we may be heading to infinitely populating our finite world. Shame!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2011 #2


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    Big satellites don't burn up completely, so large pieces of debris can hit the earth. Chunks of satellites have hit houses. When Skylab reentered the atmosphere, the odds of a human somewhere in the world being hit were estimated to be only 1/150, and this was a planned reentry performed while the station was still maneuverable. (The Shire of Esperance in Australia fined the US $400 for littering.) Having a big bird drop at random gives you no control over where the debris will land.

    I share your sadness over the collapse of the US space program.
  4. Aug 3, 2011 #3


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    A planned re-entry into the atmosphere is preferrred, so that the 'parts' fall into the ocean. Ships and other ocean faring craft can be notified in advance to be out of the designated area. When the craft breaks up in the atmosphere, there would most likely be chunks that you would not want falling on your head, nor for that matter your house.
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