Hubble telescope to get final tune-up before being replaced

January 1st, 2009 - 4:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 1 (ANI): NASA is all set to for the fifth and final service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, which is scheduled for May 12 this year.

The repairs will provide Hubble with a future as bright, though perhaps not nearly as long, as its past, according to Julianne Dalcanton, a University of Washington associate professor of astronomy, who for nearly a decade has used the telescope for a major part of her research.

Dalcanton attributes Hubbles success to the fact that it orbits nearly 350 miles above the Earth, far removed from the atmosphere and ambient light that limit the effectiveness of ground-based telescopes.

According to her, the upcoming servicing mission will likely allow Hubble to add to its already rich legacy of scientific discovery.

That legacy includes helping to revolutionize astronomers understanding of phenomena called black holes and their role in forming galaxies; more detailed observations of pulsating stars called Cepheids that enhanced the ability to judge the huge distances involved in stellar astronomy; and, most recently, producing an image, the first direct evidence, of a planet orbiting a star outside our solar system.

One of the things Hubble has done is enhance the precision with which we can carry out research, Dalcanton said. And the images produced have really spurred public interest. Those pictures are on screen savers throughout the world, she added.

The upcoming service mission, among other things, will replace gyroscopes and heat shields, upgrade instruments and add new capabilities that will allow much deeper observations.

Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990, as a joint venture of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

The telescope will be eventually replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |