Nasa to decide Hubble’s fate

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nasa to decide Hubble’s fate

Hmmm. The Hubble Space Telescope, once its initial optical problems were fixed, turned out to be a superb scientific tool. It’s also produced some incredibly beautiful images of deep-sky objects which anyone can appreciate without needing to understand the actual science involved.

But a decision has to be made on its future. If work is not done, Hubble will effectively “die” in a couple of years. If repairs and upgrades can be done, its life could be extended by a further five years – perhaps more. The problem is that the only way to get to Hubble is in the Space Shuttle. And because of the complexities of orbits, if an Orbiter goes to Hubble, it won’t be able to dock at the International Space Station if something goes wrong[1].

NASA obviously has concerns about safety, but I hope they can manage to keep Hubble going. Perhaps the decision should ultimately be left to the people who would fly the repair mission…

Hubble image gallery

[1] Real life isn’t a lot like Star Trek…