|The Planet Quiz Show|
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 by the Space Shuttle, Discovery, and it is now our premier observatory in orbit around the Earth. However, Hubble had a rough start. In July of 1990 the world learned that Hubble’s main mirror was defective. After the first Shuttle repair mission of December 1993 (STS-61), which corrected the defective primary mirror, the telescope was performing beyond its original design expectations. Between February 13-18, 1997, Hubble underwent more maintenance from another Space Shuttle mission. The STS-82 crew added two powerful new scientific instruments: an imaging spectrograph and an infrared camera. The spectrograph has helped to determine the age of our universe at 13.7 billion years by measuring how fast objects are moving away from us. In December of 1999 a third Shuttle repair mission (STS-103) replaced all six gyroscopes that allow the Hubble Space Telescope to be pointed accurately and also gave Hubble a new and more powerful main computer. From March 1-12, 2002 a fourth Shuttle mission (STS-109) gave Hubble a new high-resolution camera that saw the heavens from visible light to the far ultraviolet. The Advanced Camera for Surveys was designed to take extremely detailed pictures of the inner regions of galaxies and search neighboring stars for planets and dust rings that might form into planets. After the Columbia’s reentry accident in early February of 2002, NASA decided to plan a robotic mission for future repairs, but it has since reversed its decision in favor of a human presence. If another Hubble repair mission does not occur soon, the HTS could be decommissioned. Needed by Hubble, ASAP, are six fresh gyros, six new batteries, and a fine guidance sensor. This would extend its life for another five years. Currently, the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis to service the Hubble for the fifth and final time is scheduled for August 28, 2008.
|The Hubble Space Telescope as filmed during deployment on April 25, 1990 by an IMAX camera mounted on the Space Shuttle (STS-31). It has been in continuous use ever since, but if repairs are not made soon, it could be decommissioned in 2010.|
|Going to work in space to repair the Hubble Space Telescope looks like a blast. Imagine yourself in one of those spacesuits.|