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CNN/AP: Hubble could soon learn its fate

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:36 PM
Original message
CNN/AP: Hubble could soon learn its fate
Hubble could soon learn its fate
October 23, 2006


The Hubble Space Telescope has popularized astronomy by producing countless wondrous images of the universe.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- The fate of what some scientists dub "the people's telescope" is again up in the air as NASA decides soon whether to squeeze in a last astronaut repair mission to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope.

On Friday, NASA engineers will debate the safety of sending a fifth and final manned space shuttle flight to the 16-year-old telescope, probably in 2008. Soon afterward, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin will make the final call.

His decision could prolong Hubble's ability to capture some the most spectacular images of the universe well into the next decade or allow the telescope to deteriorate into oblivion by 2009 or 2010.

Griffin worked on Hubble earlier in his career and recently described it as "one of the great scientific instruments of all time." Unlike his predecessor, he has expressed a willingness to repair it.

"If we can do it safely, we want to do it," Griffin said. "But we have new constraints on ... the space shuttle system. We have a new understanding of its fragility and vulnerability."...

***

Among the Hubble's many scientific accomplishments, the telescope has enabled direct observation of the universe as it was 12 billion years ago, discovered black holes at the center of many galaxies, provided measurements that helped establish the size and age of the universe and offered evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. But the telescope also has popularized astronomy by producing countless wondrous images....

http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/10/23/hubble.fix.deb...
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necso Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:58 PM
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1. It would be a shame
to abandon this magnificent eye-in-the-sky (and technological achievement).

...

Being an astronaut always carries considerable risk.

Minimal crew.
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. They'll let it die....
....because it keeps taking pictures of stars being created a billion years ago, instead of 6000 years ago.
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. 6,000? Is the Earth that old?
:sarcasm:
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. If we can't fix it safely, ...
then build and launch a new one.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. What does "safely" mean?
This is the sort of thinking that the Bush administration encourages when they say, "America is safer, but we are not yet safe." When will we be "safe" Mr. President? When there is absolutely no risk? If so, then we will never be "safe."


Every time people fly into space there is a risk, just as every time you drive a car there is a risk. Every time we try to send a rocket into space there is a risk, even if no one is on board.

The question is, "Do the potential benefits justify the risk?"
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