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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:38 PM
Original message
NASA Deciding Whether to Close a Window Into Space
As NASA learned when it canceled a planned shuttle mission to keep alive the Hubble Space Telescope almost three years ago, its orbiting source of jaw-dropping intergalactic images and deep insights into the early days of the universe had become something of an astronomic rock star.

The scientific and public response was overwhelming: The then-14-year-old Hubble had to be saved before its batteries and gyroscopes failed, and NASA was seriously misguided for refusing to send a shuttle crew to keep it running. This view was strongly endorsed by an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences in late 2004.

Soon after, Michael D. Griffin became NASA administrator and agreed to reconsider the Hubble mission. On Tuesday, he will announce whether the telescope will be repaired or will be allowed to gradually run out of steam.

snip...

"It's very important for those who want to continue working with Hubble, important for those who want to do other space science, and it's important as an indication of that evolving balance between space science and human space exploration," he said. "And it shows that NASA has an enormous number of big issues on its plate right now."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

The Religious Right would love to see the Hubble die.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hubble. Religious Right. Hubble. Religious Right. Hubble......
Guess which I choose.

One more reason to get rid of the monster Bush.
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billbuckhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Literally the beginning of a new dark age
One of those historical factual anecdotes that may someday be seen as a turning point.
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 12:35 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. the nov. 7 vote results
fairly counted, would be a great starting point, eh?

I vote Hubble over those militant, partisan, fanatical, and intolerant zealots!
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
23. He's on a Crusade to kill Islamics by the millions
Except of course his thug friends in saudi

$ To kill those guys wearing long white dresses and fan belts on their heads.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 01:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. Oh, for God's sake, fix the damn thing
It took, what, like 15 years to get it built from inception to launch? And then a couple more to fix the mirror because the lens company ground it wrong? (The spare mirror was ground correct, BTW, and sitting in storage lol)

Fix it because my 2-year-old son will be in college by the time its replacement launches. Hell, we're still in touch with Viking 1 and 2, and those probes have been soaring through space almost since I was born!
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. I think you mean Voyagers 1 and 2, but other than that...
I agree wholeheartedly.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. V'ger!
Edited on Sun Oct-29-06 06:54 PM by onehandle
Uh...Maybe the Hubble should die. Look at what V'ger did.



Kidding!
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. To seek out new life, and new civilizations, then kill'em and rape their planets
At least, if BushCo ran the Federation. We'd be good buddies with the Cardassians.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #15
17.  yes, yes I do
When Voyager 2 passed by Neptune back in '89, I stayed up (at the age of 13) until like 4am to watch the live images pouring in to NASA. They were showing them on PBS.

I think I just got so pissed about this that I mistyped. :banghead:

Thank you for the correction. I should change my avater to "I'm with stupid" and have an arrow pointing at my screenname.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Happens to the best of us, don't kick yourself over it...
I'm anal retentive myself, if I'm stating a fact, I usually triple check that I'm correct before hitting submit. Its a BAD habit, better to be corrected, and learn, than to always try to be perfect and think you are a know-it-all. I just cannot believe they would abandon Hubble, especially before a much improved replacement is not in orbit yet. Even then I would prefer to have two or more space telescopes of Hubble's caliber up in orbit, so that the waiting list for astronomers is GREATLY reduced.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. I'm the best of us? Crap, we're screwed! lmao
NASA's budget is over fifteen billion dollars a year. We can't increase that, otherwise how will be pay all the interest on all the debt? Bush would then have to raise taxes or cut spending, and we can't have that, can we?

But having a really big telescope in orbit would be very nice indeed. Or maybe on the moon. In the low gravity and zero atmosphere environment, we could build a really big one. We could even use a puddle of mercury in a rotating tank to form the parabola for light reflection.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:22 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Or set up some radio telescopes on the far side of the Moon...
They could be ten to 100 kilometers in diameter, we could use a crater as the base, or, build a series of them, and specific angles etc. for focus, kinda like the VLA. With a low gee environment, building big isn't necessarily expensive, nor is it impractical. After construction, they don't even have to be manned, place a hard link, high bandwidth optics, that travel around to within line of sight of Earth and communicate with the observatories from there.

Light telescopes are also possible, they can work in tandem, hell, they would probably have a resolution to pick out a planet the size of Mercury from a distance of over 100 LY, that is some serious science.

Of course, I also imagine that we slash the federal budget by at least half, all that is cut is most of the military budget. Make it so that its divided up like this: 20% Defense budget, 60% for domestic services(Medical Care, etc.), 10% for NASA and other sciences, 10% for paying down the debt. Just a guesstimate here.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Could be on the near side of the Moon
The Moon rotates, so both sides see all points in the observable universe at some point in the 29-day lunar day. we just need to have it on the lunar equator so it can see both the northern and southern celestial hemispheres.

I understand that the Moon's surface is rich in titanium, which would be great for building lightweight, rigid trusses for large telescopes or telescopit arrays. We'd just have to build a smelting and refining operation on the surface to provide the raw materials for making habitats and such, probably in tunnels or in the shadows of mountains to protect us from solar radiation. If we do it at the poles, there are indications of water there, which could provide us with water and oxygen and would make some fine deep shadows to hide in.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. The Moon's orbit and rotation are locked...
That's why I said the far side of the Moon would be best, the reason is simple, especially with radio telescopes. It would serve as a huge radio frequency shield to prevent interference from the Earth. This would greatly reduce the interference and give a better "picture" of the Universe than what is possible from other locations. This is similar to why the Hubble is pretty good at what it does, with no interference from the atmosphere, you get unprecedented clarity with that telescope.

This would make scanning the skies much less time consuming, as of right now, the radio astronomers have to try to weed out radio frequencies from satellites, so they know that quasar they just picked up is ACTUALLY a quasar, and not some military satellite they didn't know about before.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 05:03 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. Excellent point
Hmmm... perhaps they could locate it right on the edge of the moon, so to speak. At the edge of the disk that is the Moon's face. This way it could see 'behind' the Moon while keeping line-of-sight to a satellite or something. No shielding, but they would be able to point the reflector 180 degrees from Earth
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William Seger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
5. "Rock star"?
The way NASA treats the nearly-useless space station is a better fit for that description. In terms of knowledge acquired, Hubble is the single most prolific scientific instrument in history, by a long shot.
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. a myopic one, to begin with, and made better with every visit since.
I have a great fear that once this thing disappears from the skies, all plans for a replacement will get "lost" and will leave us blind.

This is a standard overbuilt, functioning, complex, and superb piece of technology. Who cares if the glass was ground to the wrong angle? This thing is irreplaceable. And yes, we need to maintain it.

All I can think of is how NASA's major spokesasshole was a fundie for a while, and began to edit news releases to protect the Creationist bullshit theories.
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gulfcoastliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
6. Although Griffith is opposed, I've rrea that the mission is likely to proceed.
One of the primary backers to refurbish Hubble will be on hand during the announcement. We've gotta keep it going until its replacement is ready - the one that will fly behind the moon for even more amazing deep-field astronomy.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
7. Keep The Hubble Going!
If NASA fails us, make the next iteration of the X-Prize
be for whoever can get a crew up to fix the Hubble.


http://www.xprize.org/
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
8. But, but...
...it shows pictures of stars as they were millions of years ago, and they're only 6000 years old!

No way do they keep it flying -- it's an insult to God.
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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
9. The religious folks must hate the Hubble...
getting all that data about the size and age of the universe, helping to find other solar systems, proving comet impact theories, I bet they hope it just goes away and they can go back to their bibles without all this science messing things up for them.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
19. Naw, it can only see 6,000 light-years away
It's not God's fault that the scientists have their calculations off by seven orders of magnitude! Besides, what's seven orders of magnitude between friends?
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
10. Maybe the Chinese or Europeans will launch a Hubble equivalent
We can only hope someone does.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
11. It's off to the greatest pages for you
Thanks for posting onehandle

Kicked and recommended

:kick:
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MagickMuffin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
13. If you've never been to the Hubble website, check it out ;-D
I love checking out Hubble's new discoveries. I'm amazed by the images from deep field space. Simply MYSTIFING....

Is there a email or some other public support for keeping Hubble space bound and WORKING???

It would be tragic to lose such a valuable tool in our lifetime.

Maybe we could convince the "whacko's" to think about it in these terms.

Think of the Hubble as the All Seeing Eye of God. And we should keep this opportunity to look at God's creation.

How could they disapprove that logic? Oh wait nuff said they don't DO logic? :rofl:

http://hubblesite.org /


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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
14. The neo-Dark Ages!
:woohoo:
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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
26. We may be able to build a better, sharper ground-based telescope now
I've read pros and cons of letting the HST "lapse" and many of the reasons for letting it go is that with adaptive optics we may be able to equal the resolution of Hubble with a ground-based telescope. While the HST was cutting-edge 20 years ago, technology has not stood still and we may be able to duplicate it right here on Earth, thus avoiding the prohibitively expensive repair and upkeep of a space-based telescope.

I don't mind if Hubble comes down as long as we have a substitute of equal or greater value.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. The argument for the Hubble is emotional...science is no longer a factor
The Hubble introduced people to pretty space pictures and they don't want it to go away. I've always thought it funny that people talk about keeping it in orbit until its replacement (Webb) is ready in 2013, but Webb is NOT the replacement for Hubble.

Decades ago NASA planned four great spaceborn observatories to enhance our understanding of the universe. The first of these is Hubble, which provides visible light views into the universe around us. The second was the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. That telescope went up, did its job, and when the value of the science started dropping it was deorbited and destroyed with little fanfare. The third of the Great Space Observatories is the Chandra X-Ray telescope launched in 1999, and the fourth is the Spitzer Space Telescope launched in 2003.

The problem with Hubble is that it's basically in the same place today that Compton was at in 2000. While there are countless things to look at in the universe, the number of NEW DISCOVERIES is tapering off quickly. Pretty pictures of stellar explosions look nice on our screensavers, but the question of real importance is whether or not it's contributing new scientific knowledge to astronomy today. The answer, generally speaking, is a guarded "no". Spitzer, with its ability to see through dust and examine dwarfs and clouds that give off no visible light, is much more scientifically interesting than photos generated by the Hubble. Likewise, Chandra is doing far more to map out the origins of our universe in x-rays than Hubble could hope to ever do in visible light. The problem with these telescopes, of course, is that they don't produce the pretty pictures that Hubble does (though I do have a couple of Spitzer IR photos in my screen saver rotation). With hardware failing and scientific discoveries becoming fewer and fewer, NASA has to decide whether the science justifies the expense. In my opinion, it doesn't.

Remember, every NASA project that gets funding comes at the expense of another project that didn't. Can the money and staff being applied to Hubble be better used on other projects which will generate better scientific rewards? Probably. The repair costs for Hubble (including launch costs and hardware maintenance on the shuttle both before and after the flight) is probably going to exceed $500 million dollars...five times the cost of the new Keck telescope in Hawaii. For that kind of money we can build a telescopic array on Earth that would put Hubble to shame.
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Prisoner_Number_Six Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
27. There was a time I honestly thought NASA should be
renamed as "STARFLEET".

I no longer hold that opinion. We've abandoned space and all the hope it holds for mankind's long term survival.

We should have a colony on the moon. We should have been on Mars years ago- the technology has been there for thirty years and more, waiting in cold storage for use.

That use has never taken place.

Mankind has not been outside near earth orbit since the last lunar landing. The footsteps on the moon are decades old, and we have not taken a single fresh step beyond them.

Space exploration was the great hope of my generation, and as I grew up I saw the beginnings of the translation of science fiction into science fact. All that has stopped, and except for a psychotic dictator's delusional mumblings there are no real plans to go back into space. The Hubble is (was???) our only real doorway to the universe. If they decide to close it, they will be closing our only portal to the stars.
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