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The Hubble Space Telescope and beyond

By Toshio in Science
Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 04:44:11 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

The Hubble Space Telescope can be considered one of the most important science instruments created so far. Its service record is beyond impressive, but as it approaches its 14th anniversary of service it is becoming clear that new instruments are needed to complement or replace the now aging Hubble. Instruments that will include all technological advancements in optics and electronics that we have developed since the Hubble launch in 1990. Hubble will serve for at least 10 more years, but there is already the project underway that is aimed to create a new instrument that will help the scientists to observe in even more detail: The James Webb Space Telescope.


Only a few scientific instruments have provided more insight that Hubble. Even though it needed corrective optics immediately after deployment to orbit, delaying numerous experiments by more than three years, since 1993 it was nevertheless instrumental in many new discoveries in the astronomy. It has put astronomy to the front pages many times, supplanting celebrities, sports, and even politics. Probably many have their own favourite picture, and even Hubble Heritage Project was started to immortalize this instrument.

Constant upgrades have kept it on the leading edge of astronomical discovery for a full decade. It is probably the single most important instrument created since Galileo's telescope used to observe the Moon and Jupiter. Just like Galileo's telescope is obsolete today, so the Hubble will be obsolete by tomorrow's standards and the science community had been planning for the replacement from the day the Hubble was launched to the orbit. Even in the 1990 the scientist were already thinking about its replacement.

The real question is what will replace the Hubble? When you consider that it took 13 years from the Congress approvals for Hubble in 1977 to 1990 launch, there should already be a project to replace Hubble in the works. Until recently, I had seen nothing about such project, but when I was reading BBC article about a large-format camera that, among other things, mentions the technology used is being developed for the James Webb Space Telescope that is to replace Hubble.

After a quick search, I have found STScI (Space Telescope Science Institute) site that among other things provides basic overview about the James Webb Space Telescope and JWST technical overview of the project. There you can find more information about the scientific goals, current progress reports, targets, simulations and other technical information.

As it turns out, the project conception had already begun in the first years of Hubble and its timing of 13 years 13 years of active development and 20 years expected work coincides nicely with currently planned decommission of Hubble around 2010. Rough estimates leave us with the expectation that JWST will be nearing completion around 2008, since active development started in 1995-1996. Rough estimate for the schedule would then probably be that JWST should be completed somewhere around 2008 (1995 was the year that planning started in earnest). However, the BBC article suggests that launch is planned for 2010.

Since the project is still in the early stages of development, many component designs and ideas are still in a state of flux although main contractors have already been selected and components are being actively developed. Components like the wide-format camera developed for JWST already having an impact on the astronomy now. For those of us used to constant stream of new pictures and discoveries from Hubble this is good news. Science will advance and we can expect more exciting and possibly profound discoveries.

The scientific instruments that will be on JWST will be limited to only three: MIRI, NIRCam, and NIRSpec. The addition of new instruments will be nearly impossible, as the JWST will be orbiting L2 point on a distance of 1,500,000 km from Earth (the Moon is orbiting 385,000 km from Earth). This distance will probably make any service missions impossible, meaning the instruments installed at JWST launch are the only instruments that it will ever have. This is probably the main limitation compared to Hubble that already had four service missions that have upgraded existing, and installed new scientific instruments.

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Related Links
o The Hubble Space Telescope
o The James Webb Space Telescope
o corrective optics
o favourite picture
o Hubble Heritage Project
o a large-format camera
o STScI
o Space Telescope Science Institute
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o JWST technical overview of the project
o active development started in 1995-1996
o MIRI
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Display: Sort:
The Hubble Space Telescope and beyond | 85 comments (61 topical, 24 editorial, 1 hidden)
A question (2.75 / 4) (#6)
by TheModerate on Mon Nov 10, 2003 at 03:00:41 PM EST

Why do the parts of the Hubble need to be replaced? The telescope is being preserved in a vaccuum.

I for one would like more telescopes in space. I'm no astronomer, but would have many orbiting telescopes help spy near earth asteriods long enough in advance to do us any good?

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer

Other kinds of wear and tear (none / 2) (#9)
by Tatarigami on Mon Nov 10, 2003 at 05:33:19 PM EST

Micrometeorite damage and thermal expansion/contraction. Space is very cold, except for when it's very hot.

On a related note, NASA recently destroyed a probe in the vicinity of Jupiter. It's supplies of propellant were exhausted, and they were concerned that changes in its orbit might eventually cause it to intercept Europa, potentially contaminating our current biggest hope for finding life in our own solar system with Earth bacteria from the probe's casing.

[ Parent ]

Near-Earth-Orbit space junk collisions? -nt (none / 1) (#15)
by Kasreyn on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 01:41:10 AM EST

nt
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Yup. All the time. [nt] (none / 1) (#41)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 08:50:57 PM EST


--
Which way do I go, to get to your America?


[ Parent ]
Moving parts wear out. (none / 2) (#11)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 10, 2003 at 06:03:59 PM EST

Gyros get old, flexible parts stop flexing, micrometeors put pinholes in the surfaces of solar panels. Many chemical changes occur in materials subject to vacuum (causes outgassing from supposedly solid pieces of material) not to mention extreme heat and high levels of radiation, followed by extreme cold.

Space causes degradation of materials that we thought were utterly inery until we tried them out there.

--
Which way do I go, to get to your America?


[ Parent ]
Deja Vu (none / 2) (#26)
by cestmoi on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 02:02:11 PM EST

NASA management has a history of ignoring people. It ignored the lead Morton Thiokol engineer who said "don't launch Challenger." It ignored its own engineers who asked for photographs of Columbia so they could figure out if the foam had damaged the wing. And now, it's ignoring Hubble's users who are asking for Hubble's life to be extended.

NASA is saying they don't have the $700 million required. This is one of those times that Congress should order NASA to stop doing one thing in favor of another. The Space Station can be sacrificed - it hasn't produced a whit of value while the Hubble has produced reams of data. Kill the Space Station and dedicate the few remaining shuttle flights to keeping Hubble alive and suddenly NASA will have plenty of funds.

Talking about Hubble having outlived its usefulness is like saying the Keck or Palomar observatories are worthless.

[ Parent ]

You didn't read what I wrote, did you? (none / 2) (#40)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 08:49:25 PM EST

Hubble is wearing out. It needs to be replaced not "extended".

Oh, and by the way, the main scope at Palomar is useless by modern standards. Comparing Palomar to Keck is like saying a 57' Nomad is just as capable as a BMW Z4.

--
Which way do I go, to get to your America?


[ Parent ]
"Useless" by modern standards? (none / 0) (#63)
by pq on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 04:15:35 PM EST

the main scope at Palomar is useless by modern standards.

Excuse me? Useless??? You have no idea what you're talking about. We still write proposals for the 200 inch, the telescope is still oversubscribed, and if anything, Palomar has better instruments and filters than the Keck does. Okay, so it has a quarter the light gathering power, and the site isn't the best (and steadily getting worse). But calling it "useless" just boggles my mind.

As a matter of fact, Palomar is the last of the large equatorial mount telescopes (all newer ones are alt-az) which implies no field rotation at the focus. This alone makes it unique for certain types of time evolution observations where you cannot tolerate changes in telescope artifacts. Useless. Sigh.

[ Parent ]

Wait. You work at Palomar? (none / 0) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Nov 14, 2003 at 10:37:02 PM EST

Sweet. And, yeah, I'm overstating the case when I call Palomar (or any other big earth scope) useless but still, I think you're over emphasizing the field rotation thing. Sure, field rotations a pisser on a Meade LX200; but I'd be pretty boggled if the instruments on modern alt-az observatories didn't have a counter rotation mechanism at the instrument package mount point.

In any case, the previous poster was asserting that we should be able to continue to use Hubble because we're still able to use Palomar. It's a nonsensical argument.

--
Which way do I go, to get to your America?


[ Parent ]
Actually I did... (none / 0) (#79)
by cestmoi on Thu Nov 13, 2003 at 02:39:10 PM EST

read what you wrote.

My point is that the Hubble is maintainable because the Shuttle can get to it. There have been several missions specifically for that purpose so bits and pieces wearing out just means replacing them. Hubble isn't dead unless NASA kills it - just like they killed the Compton. NASA killed the Compton and wants Hubble gone because NASA's tight on funds and wants to keep ISS alive - even if it means sacrificing Hubble to do so.

The best evidence that NASA is ossifying towards uselessness is their decision to kill Hubble and to name Hubble's "replacement" after Webb - a bunch of bureaucrats honoring one of their own.

I used to be a big NASA fan but decisions like those make me think that man's path to the solar system isn't going to go through NASA. It'll be some other entity that gets masses of people off this planet.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps. In any case, the answer for NASA isn't (none / 0) (#82)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Nov 14, 2003 at 10:41:05 PM EST

to give them money to fix Hubble - it's to add the money to the X-Prize; to push guys like Burt Rutan and the other teams competing to come with an alternative to the pencil pushers who are waiting for retirement.

I also think you've placed a little too much faith in the shuttle. That bird's done. If we need to spend more money anywhere, it should be on a replacement for that piece of 1970's high tech.

--
Which way do I go, to get to your America?


[ Parent ]
Also: pixels on the CCDs (none / 1) (#33)
by flimflam on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 03:45:37 PM EST

Cosmic radiation takes out pixels on the imagers much faster in space than would happen here on earth. Hubble apparently loses several every day. With no imager, there is no way to get images.


-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]
Radiation, particles, fuel.... (none / 1) (#31)
by snowmoon on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 03:10:54 PM EST

Both solar and galactic radiation, as well as microscopic particles can do a number on any long term device in orbit.

Don't forget it probably also needs solid fuel for directionals.

[ Parent ]

Low Earth orbit is somewhat hostile to things (none / 0) (#83)
by WayneConrad on Sat Nov 15, 2003 at 11:10:20 AM EST

A vehicle in low Earth orbit is exposed to radiation, monoatomic oxygen, debris, and thermal cycles (see NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility.) The Hubble also contains moving parts such as the reaction wheels (aka gyroscopes) that astronauts have had to replace already.



[ Parent ]
Hubble Telescope: Maximum Science for your Buck? (2.10 / 10) (#27)
by K5 Troll Authority on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 02:07:11 PM EST

While it can't be argued that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been invaluable to science, we must question if another one would provide the same kind of results. Right now, the Paranal Observatory in Chile is being completed and will become the largest telescope cluster on Earth, putting the HST to shame. That's right, an Earth-bound telescope will provide much better observation than Hubble. Another limitation of Hubble is that it only provides images in the visible range, the least useful range for studying space bodies yet the one which produces the prettiest pictures.

The clever reader by now has already figured out that HST was a costly publicity stunt, providing limited scientific return that's "invaluable", but could be obtained in cheaper ways. I object to the space program's spending spree. I support that the space program should be stopped in favour of actual science being done. I wonder, how far could've gone if the space program's funds were applied more responsibly? Perhaps we could have intelligent robots already, doing our jobs so that we could better enjoy life. What do you rather have? Pretty pictures of faraway galaxies or a better life down here on Earth?

K5: we get laid more than Slashdot goons — TheGreenLantern

A few points (2.71 / 7) (#32)
by JetJaguar on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 03:36:45 PM EST

  1. Hubble has done IR and UV imaging and spectroscopy. It is not nor was it ever limited to the visible. Those observations don't get all hat much press, but they do happen quite frequently.
  2. Earth bound telescopes still have a resolution limit due to the atmosphere. Yes, adaptive optics is coming along quite nicely, but that field is still in it's infancy. Space-based observations are still the best way to do this.
  3. There are limits to what can be done with ground based telescopes, both IR and UV (especially UV) observations are blocked at various wavelengths by the atmosphere, and there is no way you can observe at a wavelength were the atmosphere is effectively opaque. In the IR, environmental background effects limit considerably, how faint you can go.

Finally, I take issue with the idea that money spent on space science is wasted. IMHO, that is a very short sighted statement. If people had decided 200 years ago that research into electricity was a waste of time, money, and never amount to anything, where would we be today? It is at the fringes of science where things appear least likely to pan out that all the major discoveries that have changed are lives are made. 80 years ago quantum mechanics was just some weird effects down at the atomic level, and nobody then had any clue that those weird things would give rise to the transistor and the computer. In many respects the space sciences are still on the fringe and probably will be for a long time to come, but is that really a good reason to stop them just for some short-term gains and creature comforts?



[ Parent ]
Is space the best place for research? (none / 1) (#53)
by Fallen on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 05:46:28 AM EST

For me Hubble is a third grade telescope at a very good, but hugely expensive location. Some limited aspects of astronomy like UV observations can best be done in space, but they should not drain whole the budget.
Space science is certainly valid but should focus on its main objectives:
- How to put payload into space.
- How to bring, maintain and bring back people from space.

[ Parent ]
-1 Hubble space telescope (1.00 / 15) (#28)
by tofubar on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 02:46:45 PM EST

should be destroyed, what has it found of use to humanity?

How much did that cost? (1.80 / 5) (#34)
by danharan on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 04:40:20 PM EST

That's what I want to know.

Oddly enough, the NASA site doesn't seem to mention that.

Without knowing how much it cost, I'm instinctively inclined to say it's not worth it.

So far, ... (none / 0) (#84)
by cestmoi on Mon Nov 17, 2003 at 04:32:00 PM EST

... about $4 Billion. It would not have been quite so expensive if NASA hadn't insisted on its being launched by Shuttle. The Challenger explosion added years of expense and delay to that already expensive strategy. The thing is, it's up there, it's a sunk cost. The better question is which project will pay higher dividends - Space Station or Hubble? NASA sees Space Station as an ongoing pork source whereas Hubble, productive as it is in cosmology, doesn't produce anywhere near the pork.

Now NASA wants to spend $300 million to de-orbit Hubble. They want to fire a rocket with a robot that'll steer the $4 Billion dollar investment into the ocean. That's NASA accounting for you.

Kill the Space Station and NASA will have plenty of money to fund space science instead of pork. The remaining Shuttle flights could be set aside to service Hubble thereby fulfilling what NASA touted as a key advantage Shuttle had over unmanned launches.

[ Parent ]

What a waste of money and time (1.04 / 24) (#35)
by sellison on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 05:09:21 PM EST

There is no need to endlessly search the heavens for information when all the information you need to get to Heaven is right here on earth!

This is yet another example of the socialist/liberals wasting hard earned money that should be going to Family, Church, and Charity.

All the Hubble does is provide cover for the colorful space pictures NASA's special effects artists produce to convince people there is something worth seekig out there, and a bunch of noise "cosmologists" can massage into semblences of coherence to give false meaning to their wasted lives.

Cut this and other 'science' pork from the Federal Budget and we'll be able to cut taxes to minimal levels and let people spend money on the really important things in life.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

Hallelujah! (none / 1) (#36)
by LilDebbie on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 05:32:39 PM EST

enty

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
sorry, this troll was done before, see comment 27 (none / 0) (#37)
by cbraga on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 05:34:22 PM EST



ESC[78;89;13p ESC[110;121;13p
[ Parent ]
Why, dear God... (1.50 / 4) (#38)
by CodeWright on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 05:47:46 PM EST

...hasn't Hubble been used to thoroughly image the Moon?

Originally, the Hubble scientists claimed that lunar reflection of solar light was too intense for Hubble... but they then later released images of both the Earth and Moon in full reflected sunlight.

There is absolutely no good reason not to image the moon at high resolution (particularly the lunar poles and places like Aristarchus).

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
You do realize that Hubble has more than one (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 09:05:11 PM EST

camera?

IIRC, the camera that they use to take pictures of the moon is actually a low resolution camera used to align the telescope.

As for disbelieving that the light of the full moon might harm the scope's optics - have you ever looked at even a half or quarter moon through an 8" or 10" telescope? Last time I tried that, I had to stack three different filters on the eyepiece to cut down the light enough that it wouldn't hurt my eyes.

--
Which way do I go, to get to your America?


[ Parent ]
Of course... (none / 0) (#45)
by CodeWright on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 09:10:57 PM EST

...I know that there are a half dozen or so imaging instruments on the Hubble. I was actually referring to both the primary visible light and infrared cameras.

You might want to read Eric J. Chaisson's The Hubble Wars: Astrophysics Meets Astropolitics in the Two-Billion-Dollar Struggle over the Hubble Space Telescope.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
using any of the optical imaging or IR instruments (none / 0) (#46)
by Joh3n on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 09:45:56 PM EST

Would saturate the exposure in a very tiny fraction of the exposure time.
---------------------------------
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came. [ Parent ]
Okay (none / 0) (#47)
by CodeWright on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 09:56:15 PM EST

Now try the facts.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Okay (none / 0) (#51)
by Joh3n on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 02:48:19 AM EST

Now read your facts:
"The image was taken while the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) was aimed at a different part of the moon to measure the colors of sunlight reflected off the Moon."  

STIS sits on the same optical platform as the other instruments.  As such, none of the main instruments was pointing at the moon.  In all likelihood, STIS was looking just off the limb of the moon to do UV spectroscopy.

Incidentally, in case you're thinking 'bullshit, this guy knows nothing about Hubble', I direct you to my own facts.  Hint:  remove the 3.... HTH
---------------------------------
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came. [ Parent ]

What... (none / 0) (#59)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 12:38:32 PM EST

...does the absence or presence of deuterium in QSO PG1718+4807 have to do with my question?

Are you referring to the "3" your k5 username? As an implication that your name is "John" and that you might be the same John O'Meara listed as an author? In that case, your email address would be: jomeara@ucsd.edu

Additionally, even though the minimum exposure time on any Hubble main instrument is 0.1 seconds, it should be more than feasible to image the moon during Lunar Eclipse (like happened only a few days ago).

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
it only had to do (none / 0) (#60)
by Joh3n on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 03:26:10 PM EST

with the fact that I've used Hubble and STIS, and just might know a few things about them.

During an eclipse one might be able to do things....fair point.

I suppose the big question I have is why?  Imaging the moon at rediculous precision doesn't require Hubble at all.  Hell, a 20" telescope with a good CCD would be better, assuming it were in space.
---------------------------------
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came. [ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#61)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 03:33:22 PM EST

...I don't have a 20" scope in space. But the Hubble is there and lots of planetary astronomers have requested time for moon shots and been denied.

Isn't it a bit ingenuous to tell me that I shouldn't desire to point a public funds supported astronomy instrument at a subject of significant interest to planetary astronomy... with my alternative being use of some imaginary 20" reflector that I might just happen to have in space?

Why should I go to the $100 million expense to put my own imaging satellite in Earth orbit (provided I even had a tenth of a gigabuck to throw around) when a public resource exists to do precisely that?

Further, there is talk of retiring Hubble in the not too distant future -- without ever having used it for the kinds of things I describe (and Lunar Eclipse events are pretty common as far as astronomical events go).

With the kind of attitude you are sporting, is it any wonder that I'm a bit upset at the lack of responsiveness to moon shot requests?

What have you used the Hubble for?

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
well.... (none / 0) (#69)
by Joh3n on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 06:25:35 PM EST

First off, there was a mission to specifcally map the moon at high resolution and multiple wavebands, it was called Clementine.

lots of planetary astronomers have requested time for moon shots and been denied

Welcome to the world of the telescope time request system.  More proposals get shot down than accepted by a significant number.  Moreover, pointing at something as bright as the moon (even during eclipse),  poses a significant risk to the lifetime of the instruments.  This is exactly why there are object brightness constraints for any hubble pointing.

With the kind of attitude you are sporting, is it any wonder that I'm a bit upset at the lack of responsiveness to moon shot requests?

Well, I'm upset that my proposals dont always get approved either.  But more to the point, Hubble was simply not built with the thought of looking at the moon in mind.  As for planetary science in general, there's been plenty of work done with Hubble on other objects in the solar system.

What have you used the Hubble for?

A neat trick by which we can figure out how much of the universe is made of normal matter.

IHBT IHL HAND
---------------------------------
You can learn a lot about someone by popping in their un-rewound pr0n tape and seeing where exactly they came. [ Parent ]

Curiosity question... (none / 0) (#71)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 07:27:54 PM EST

...why haven't professional astronomers made more use of things like the CubeSat Kit to put inexpensive imaging platforms in space?

Although an individual platform would not have much focal length nor resolving capability, a cluster could be launched for ~$50k per element to form a synthetic aperture array in orbit. It should even be possible to slowly maneuver the array into higher orbit by using photovoltaics to unreel a thin conducting cable and walking up the Earth's magnetic field (as inadvertently tested on STS-75).

It seems like this might be a cost-effective alternative to buying time on other people's instruments...

Hell, if I found enough like-minded other people, it's something that amateur astronomers could pay for with out-of-pocket pooled resources.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Also... (none / 0) (#72)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 07:31:43 PM EST

...the Clementine imagery wasn't very high resolution.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
The Obvious Answer Is (none / 1) (#48)
by thelizman on Tue Nov 11, 2003 at 10:34:26 PM EST

...they are afraid of what they know what would be found (Warning: Kook alert).
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Is it just me.. (none / 1) (#49)
by stormie on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 12:22:53 AM EST

..or does the clipping from the New York Times on that page look remarkably like one of the historical back issues of The Onion?

[ Parent ]
Holy shit... (none / 2) (#50)
by leviramsey on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 02:31:10 AM EST

They even get into a bit of extremely misinformed interpretation of the Masonic background of the US...

I take back whatever I said about you in the past, thelizman, just for posting that site; I've been more entertained than I have been in quite a while!



[ Parent ]
Hrm. (none / 0) (#56)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 11:55:34 AM EST

That wasn't what I was getting at. I just wanted better lunar maps, perhaps visual confirmation of polar ice lenses, investigation of peculiar crater ejecta coloration, etc...

In other words, I just think that there should be far more planetary astronomy (because we will eventually be exploring them on foot -- so better up-front intelligence can help to guide those activities).

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
One very simple reason... (none / 0) (#54)
by la hapalo on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 09:09:39 AM EST

Hubble orbits the Earth, and the Moon always faces the Earth in the same orientation. So, short of towing Hubble into a lunar orbit, it could never image anything but the "front" of the Moon.

* Disclaimer: IANAA

[ Parent ]
Ummm... (none / 0) (#57)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 11:57:04 AM EST

Fully half of either the north or south polar regions (and actually slightly more) can be imaged from Earth orbit.

Also, Aristarchus is on the side visible from Earth (it is a frequent subject of amateur astronomy).

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Fair enough (none / 0) (#76)
by la hapalo on Thu Nov 13, 2003 at 08:50:47 AM EST

I assumed when you said "thoroughly image", you meant the whole surface.

[ Parent ]
Hubble and National Security (none / 2) (#55)
by rmg on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 09:55:32 AM EST

In this time of peril for Americans, it is especially important that we keep our eyes open for threats to our hegemonic interests. This counts doubly for our largest eye: The Hubble Telescope. If there is one thing that the 9/11 attacks have shown us, it is that terrorists often turn up where we least expect them. All foreign terrain must be suspect.

Freedom comes at the price of eternal vigilance. We must keep our eyes always to the heavens -- one never knows where the next attack will come from.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks

What? (none / 2) (#62)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 03:37:18 PM EST

What are you talking about? Muslim attack from Jupiter?

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
I was referring to (none / 0) (#66)
by rmg on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 05:30:40 PM EST

The usual threats to planetary security. A few obvious examples come to mind, like asteroids and other cosmic debris. Of course, without taking a good look at it, as you have suggested elsewhere, we really don't know what's on the far side of the moon either -- and let's not forget, not all terrorists are Muslim.

My point is, we need not look as far as Jupiter for   the potential of extraterrestrial terror.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Extraterrestrials closer than Jupiter? (none / 0) (#67)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 05:38:19 PM EST

Not buying it.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
There's no reasoning (none / 0) (#68)
by rmg on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 05:44:15 PM EST

With a skeptic.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

There's no reasoning (none / 0) (#70)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 07:03:15 PM EST

With a gullible sucker either.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
I don't get it (none / 0) (#73)
by Eater on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 07:54:43 PM EST

Call me thick, but...
Who's trolling who? Or is this a mutual troll of sorts, meant to attract suckers like me?

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Why... (none / 0) (#74)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 08:07:12 PM EST

...are you accusing me of trolling?

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Where does this guy get off? (none / 0) (#75)
by rmg on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 11:34:19 PM EST

I don't know about you, CodeWright, but I demand an apology.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#78)
by CodeWright on Thu Nov 13, 2003 at 12:02:08 PM EST

This is an outrage!

I demand you apologize right now rmg!

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Why do you complain? (none / 0) (#77)
by cbraga on Thu Nov 13, 2003 at 10:36:58 AM EST

With a handle like that, you must be one of the biggest biters ever!

ESC[78;89;13p ESC[110;121;13p
[ Parent ]
I'm not complaining (none / 0) (#80)
by Eater on Thu Nov 13, 2003 at 09:04:23 PM EST

I'm expressing geniune curiosity.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
The joys of de-scoping (none / 1) (#64)
by pq on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 04:31:14 PM EST

Why do astronomers want to cling to the Hubble, arguing for extending its life, when the James Webb telescope is going to be so much bigger and better?

Answer: (we) astronomers do not believe that it will be bigger and better. The JWST has been repeatedly de-scoped from the original conception of a 10-m class telescope which would "unfurl" in space, equipped with top-notch UV- to Infrared-spanning instruments. Now it is a single petal of what was to have unfurled; the specs have been degraded so far that UV is out of the question and only a very minor optical capability remains, and the detector pixels will not even sample the telescope diffraction pattern all that well.

In another ominous sign, it's been named already. After a NASA administrator. (History note: these telescopes have been checked out before naming. Chandra used to be AXAF, and SIRTF still has no name while it does checkout observations.) I don't understand the break from tradition by NASA - perhaps it is to instill a sense of inevitability? - but it sure gets us worried about what else will be de-scoped away in order to get this thing to fly...

(Apologies for the absence of links: surely links to Chandra or SIRTF or even JWST are not that useful...)

That's why... (none / 0) (#65)
by CodeWright on Wed Nov 12, 2003 at 05:21:14 PM EST

...astronomers should be pushing for a lunar pole based telescope in the permanent shadow of a crater.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Hubble being Terminated (none / 0) (#85)
by tmorton on Sun Jan 25, 2004 at 12:28:49 PM EST

According to the Hubble Project Page, NASA has canceled all further service missions.
The HST Program has received notification from the NASA Administrator that he has decided to cancel all further HST on-orbit servicing, including Servicing Mission 4. The decision is based on the risks to the Shuttle astronauts associated with future HST servicing missions.
Damn, it was a good program. :(
--Taj
"There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary, and those who do not."
The Hubble Space Telescope and beyond | 85 comments (61 topical, 24 editorial, 1 hidden)
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