A few years ago when Nasa
admin O'Keefe unilaterally declared Hubble Space Telescope 'dead', a vast
outcry was heard around the world. I was so
angered by this idiocy, that I felt I must comment on it and created this subsite.
For the moment, below is the original treatise I wrote lambasting the foolishness of such a move, and linked directly to the Save the Hubble site.
Now that the last service mission has been reinstated (however tenously), my intent since then has been to rework this section into a fully robust resource for the Hubble, astronomy and general space sciences for the enthusiast. That work will begin by this summer, 2007.
For the moment, please be content with reexamining the rather empassioned text below. Please be patient with this next phase of work, the universe is quite a big place and deserves proper recogntion for the magnificent thing that it is. Hubble has opened our eyes to it, the coming generation of telescopes shall open our very existence to the very essence of the majesty that is creation.
Hubble Space Telescope -'fulfilling
a 50 year old dream of orbital astronomy.'
Presented below is a harangue on the Hubble Space Telescope. Initially written when the debacle on its fate erupted
under then NASA Administrator O'Keefe. Several years later there is still little changed and its fate, though ultimately
fixed still hangs in the balance. Even though to this day, January 1, 2006, it is yielding ever greater discoveries and insights.
All info is from memory, or is common knowledge; all opinions are my own.
Specifics are quoted from sites linked herein. -never have been real good with bibliographies :[
Launched in 1990 and designed to last 20 years (optimum), Hubble is indeed nearing the end of its planned life -though it could easily continue for decades more, given a proper maintenence routine.
There was only one more servicing mission scheduled for its operational runtime; and that has been canceled by Administrator O'Keefe. Now, instead of having another 6 years left, Hubble probably has one or two.
While I am glad that NASA seems to now have a long term mission (and have no doubts that there are very nefarious military reasons behind the new emphasis on the Moon and Mars); and while I am glad (psyched) that humanity may finally be on the verge of leaving its cradle and stepping into its toddler phase of life, killing Hubble now is as short sighted and utterly stupid and wasteful an action as the agency has ever done or been accused of doing!
Allow me to quote NASA itself on the Hubble... (emphasis placed by me)
"Each new instrument placed on Hubble increases its scientific power by a factor of 10 or greater. In addition, during each servicing mission, the astronauts replace limited-life components with systems incorporating the latest technology. With every servicing mission Hubble becomes, in effect, a new state-of-the-art observatory, at a fraction of the cost (!) of building one "from scratch."
Perhaps, laudably, Sean 'the Hatchet' O'Keefe wants to concentrate on finishing the Space Station before the Shuttle program is scraped (to make way for inefficient, non-reusable rockets that the Shuttle technology, and philosophy, was designed to replace!).
The thought is that by the time the Shuttle is scraped (2010-2015), NASA will have miraculously designed, built and tested an entirely new line of craft. (Nevermind the fact that Congress decimated the last most promising line (the X-35 -X-40) back in the mid-nineties under Pres. Clinton as being an unnecessary and wasteful Democratic spending splurge -because the Shuttle 'was good enough'...
Had they not scraped that line, NASA would indeed now be nearly ready for the vision proposed by Pres. Bush. However, for 30 years the Congress has continually decimated NASA's budget while putting ever more demands and unrealistic expectations on it.
O'Keefe's main reason cited for scraping Hubble early is that he doesn't want the Shuttle to fly anywhere away from the Space Station in case there is an emergency. Do not count that since Columbia's first launch in 1981, 80% of Shuttle flights have occured without a Space Station to orbit to...
There were naysayers when Hubble was first launched. Why? No one had ever placed a Telescope in orbit from another ship before and if it got loose, it could have destroyed the Shuttle in orbit. Service missions? Don't do that! There could be a mishap and if things got out of control, the Shuttle could be destroyed in orbit. This, that and the other, the naysayers have been proven wrong time and again, every single time when it came to Hubble.
With headlines such as 'Hubble peers farther into the Universe than ever seen before', 'Hubble discovers proof of Black Holes in distant Galaxies', 'Hubble discovers evidence of extra-solar planets', 'Hubble servicing mission an unqualified success', 'Hubble does it again...', 'Hubble proves the difficult to be routine', 'Hubble proves Space Station assembly possible'.
No other single tool of ANY kind in the HISTORY OF HUMANITY has EVER done more to advance our understanding of the Universe -and ourselves!
Shoemaker-Levy 9, prior to Jupiter collision
The Hubble uses less than 1% of the overall NASA budget and has been the best dollar-to-science-gained investment they have EVER made in their near 50 year history.
The current fate of Hubble? They plan to launch an non-reusable rocket that will attach itself to Hubble and de-orbit it, guiding it 'safely' into a convenient ocean. Why not let it burn in the atmosphere? There are concerns that its mirror, at nearly 2 meters across (one of the largest ever built), will not melt and could cause a hazard to land based people. Don't bother considering any possible onboard (?)Plutonium(?) in the power system (in addition to the Solar panels).
But hey, we (the human species) have been dumping plutonium and worse in the oceans for years, what's a few more grams or ounces going to do?
If they are willing to launch a robot to de-orbit it, they could easily launch that same robot to boost Hubble into a higher orbit that is far enough out of the way and stable enough to last for decades, if not centuries. That same robot could also grapple the HST, bring it into an onboard cargo container and parachute it to a safe return for our future generations.
And there is also the option of soliciting bids from other countries to take control of Hubble.
Heck! Let's just let them have it, we are only going to toss it, anyway!
All they have to do is take over the maintenence routine and absorb launch costs every five years or so. Just because 'we' do not value it anymore, does not mean that the rest of the world cannot reap untold bounty from this used equipment for decades to come! The current adminstrations' postion of destruction is absurd!
There are few doubts that the European Space Agency, Japan, Russia, China or any other nation, or group of nations, could take command. What better an opportunity for third world nations to band together in the unity of exploration!
Back in the day, the original plan had been to capture Hubble in the Shuttle and bring it back safely to Earth for display at NASA or the Smithsonian's Air and Space museum. A fitting end for such an invaluable a piece of human history.
We owe it to the exceptional capabilities, not only of HST, but of every single man and woman that has ever devoted themselves to the stars and most especially those on the Hubble teams and those who have perished in tragedy in the overarching goals of space travel and exploration (its what we do as a species, the best). We owe it to the Shuttle Crews who have risked their lives 100 times in pursuit of getting humanity one step further out of our cradle.
If Hubble is not to be saved, it must be retrieved to the posterity of all who will follow in the exploration of the Creation in our heavens.
Dumping Hubble in the ocean is the easy thing to do. And NASA has never been about easy. The whole space industry is based on the difficult, on overcoming the barriers, and NASA has been at the lead (in simliar and competitive motivations with the USSR of the day) for decades.
And it is NASA who has triumphed and overcome. For years it's begged for its budget only to be driven further down with every more stringent requirements to do more with less with greater safety. And now that China is shooting for the Moon, we find we are behind. Now is the time for NASA to continue to shine through and find the way to Save the Hubble, one way or the other, but not it's destruction under any circumstance.
The next generation of Space Telescope.
The James Webb Telescope (currently being designed) will indeed put Hubble to shame in almost all regards and capabilities. It is due to launch for 2012, though there is talk that it could go as early as 2008.
Given the nature of NASA having to always push back its programs (Moon Colonies by 1980 -won't see them for decades more; Space Shuttle by 1976, 5 years late; Space Station proposed by Pres. Reagan in 1981 to be finished by 1988 (won't be done until 2010 at the earliest (22 years late)); Man on Mars proposed by Pres. Bush I in 1986, -laughed out of existence by Congress that year (re-proposed by Pres. Bush II in 2004 results to be seen (fiscal implosion seemingly imminent)); Hubble to launch in 1986 (4 years late in 1990), Cassini, Galileo, Pluto Express, even the current Mars rovers were to be there several years ago, and every other single space mission ever proposed has been delayed by years or decades (granted that delay has been better, as tech increases over that time have undoubtedly been beneficial in many cases -but not nearly all).
The only program NASA has ever launched 'on schedule' to my mind was Apollo. And they only beat 'the end of the decade' decreed by Pres. Kennedy in 1963 by 5 months and three odd weeks or so!
There is no chance that Webb will be ready to fly on time (it's still on the drafting table afterall; and there are already better designs that make Webb useless).
But what about the other space telescopes now up there?
Yes, indeed. Hubble is but one of three orbiting scopes (not including any potentially being secretly flown by the Pentagon, the Kremlin or others).
These two scopes, Spitzer and Chandra, are performing admirably and garnering ever new science and incalculably valuable data. The problem? Neither does what Hubble can. Hubble was designed as an all-purpose telescope, gathering visible, infrared, ultraviolet, radio, x-ray and other electro magnetic emissions. It does all these things very well and has exceeded all expectations for more than 10 years now.
Hubble spies Little Pluto and Charon, some 80 odd billion miles away, and getting further...
Whereas Spitzer and Chandra are very narrow and specific in their capabilities. Chandra being an X-Ray/Gamma observatory and Spitzer gathering infrared spectrometry.
Each does what it does better than Hubble can. But even taken together, both cannot match the versatility and quality of Hubble alone; and both are slated to finish their lives before Hubble (was to). Destroying Hubble will leave a gap of many years before Webb is on orbit, calibrated and ready for its first light.
Never had more people complained before about the cost of a single space project; never before had more people heaped insult upon a project when the flawed mirror was discovered; never more had more people voted to kill a project in its initial phase of life before it even flew!
And never more had the naysayers faces been smeared in the dirt when the Hubble/Shuttle repair mission vindicated the triumph of engineering and science that is Hubble; and NASA at its best!
When Hubble returned the most astonishing images of the Universe; when Hubble discovered the near origins of the Universe; when Hubble discovered evidence of the missing Dark Matter; when Hubble determined the Universe is accelerating away from us; when Huble discovered the first of going on hundreds of exo-planets and their atmospheres, and never more than when the true glory and wealth of information and learning that Hubble unveiled to our species has Space science seen better days!
And now these same naysayer 'archtypes' want to trash it years early, easily wasting a billion dollars (if not more) already spent on keeping it going???
Simple and outright idicoy is the only thing that comes to this idiot's mind.
Please take a moment to follow the SAVE THE HUBBLE link to a petition and save
this 10 Billion dollar tool from a premature -and unnecessarily wasteful death.
Please feel free to correct any misaligned data by writing me.
I will gladly correct all flawed facts with appropriate documentation.
Just a few thoughts and comments from this Concerned American,
Tom E. Boy-ee
|- - A Gallery - -
An HST Diagram
Deep Field Shot
13 billion years in time
There are no stars in this
image, only galaxies!!!
9 and 12 billion years ago.
There is only one star in
the 12 billion year image,
the rest are galaxies!!!
The Warped Galaxy
The Ring Galaxy
The Mouse Galaxy
(red left eye, blue rt eye)
Hubble combos with Chandra,
the VLA and Keck (?) in Hawaii
for this image
- SOME LINKS -
- SOME NOTES -
'Hubble can resolve the star
even though the apparent
size is 20,000 times smaller
than the width of the full Moon
-- roughly equivalent to being
able to resolve a car's
headlights at a distance of
'Looking back in time nearly
9 billion years, an international
team of astronomers found
mature galaxies in a young
universe. The galaxies are
members of a cluster of galaxies that existed when the
universe was only 5 billion
This compelling evidence that
galaxies must have started
forming just after the big bang
was bolstered by observations
made by the same team of
astronomers when they peered
even farther back in time.
The team found embryonic
galaxies a mere 1.5 billion years after the birth of the
cosmos. The "baby galaxies"
reside in a still-developing
cluster, the most distant
proto-cluster ever found.'
'Hubble confirms Kuiper...
Through this search technique
astronomers have identified
29 candidate comet nuclei
belonging to an estimated
population of 200 million
particles orbiting the edge of
our solar system.
The Kupier Belt was theorized
40 years ago, and its larger
members detected several
years ago. However, Hubble
has found the underlying
population of normal comet-
streamers of seething gas,
a galaxy that was once like our
Milky Way is being shredded
as it plunges at 4.5 million
miles per hour through the heart
of a distant cluster of galaxies.
In this unusually violent collision
with ambient cluster gas, the
galaxy is stripped down to its
skeletal spiral arms as it is
eviscerated of fresh hydrogen
for making new stars.
WHAT WILL BE LOST IN
CANCELLING THE LAST
SERVICE MISSION . . .
*COS - Cosmic Origins
Spectrograph -the most
spectrograph ever planned
to fly on HST
**WFC3 - Wide Field Camera 3
camera with continuous
coverage of wavelengths or
colors of light from the
ultraviolet to the near-infrared
***Batteries replacement of the
six batteries originally launched
with Hubble in 1990, which are
steadily losing capacity as they
****Rate Sensor Units (gyros) complete change-out of all six
gyroscopes, the heart of HST's
pointing system, and HST's
main wear-out items (three are
*****FSU - Fine Guidance
Sensor -last in a series of
changed-out units that allow
fine pointing of HST
******Aft Shroud Cooling System
designed to remove unwanted
heat from the enclosure housing
HST's scientific instruments
*******Data Management Cross
Strap Unit purpose was to add
redundancy to instrument control and data handling
********NOBL - New Outer Blanket Layer designed to
provide thermal protection to
HST equipment, needed to
replace degrading blankets
originally launched on the HST
And . . .
Years of priceless research
and wasted money, missed
opportunities and failed dreams.
All Hubble Imagery courtesy
The Hubble Space Telescope, via NASA
used for non-commercial
purposes herein by
Tom E. Boy-ee.
NASA imagery is free for all to use provided that you: acknowledge NASA as the copyright owner and do not use it for commercial purposes without prior consent from NASA directly.