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Superbelt 01-16-2004 11:49 AM

Hubble to be scrapped
 
http://www.brucegarrett.com/brucelog_2004_1_1.htm#b22
This is a blog entry.

Quote:

No more servicing missions to Hubble, as per the directive of the current head of NASA, Sean O'Keefe.

Hubble has six guidance gyros. But they fail at fairly regular and now predictable rates. Nearly every servicing mission to Hubble has replaced gyros as part of the work done. It needs three to do most of the science it now does, although there is a scheme in the works to do a greatly attenuated kind of science with two. We currently have four working gyros. Expectations were that we would almost certainly be down to two by the time the next servicing mission occurred, and possibly even down to one. So, figure, at around the time of what would have been the next servicing mission, Hubble will probably be no more, or soon, very soon, to expire.

Haven't heard yet about their final plans to control dump it. Last I heard, the talk was that some sort of small retro would be fitted to it via a shuttle mission, so it's re-entry into earth's atmosphere could be controlled.

This is of a piece with Bush's directive, that anything that doesn't support his new moon and mars missions is to be cut. So likely Hubble won't be the only thing that does deep space science that goes, and quite possibly some of the stuff that does near earth science will also be trashcanned (like for instance, all the stuff that provides data about that pesky global warming that isn't supposed to be really happening...)

The end of an era in deep space exploration draws to a close. The era of the total militarization of space dawns.
I can support a mission to mars. I can do that enthusiastically. I can even support a mission to the moon again, even though we have already been there. But for Bush to propose these two programs while at the same time scrapping ALL the ancillary jobs that NASA does just to get his directive off the ground is just sad. It disheartens me to see the final glimmers of what was once a proud, visionary agency deadened.

Ustwo 01-16-2004 12:01 PM

Well beyond the obvious 'if its a blog it must be true' statement, you do need to cut somewhere, and the hubble is near the end of its expected lifespan.

Lets cut the welfare budget in half and spend it on NASA, that would solve the funding issues :)

Paq 01-16-2004 12:08 PM

why not just cut 1% of the military budget and solve the problems..

Superbelt 01-16-2004 12:30 PM

Of course. That's why I labeled it as blog. But I have been hearing that a bit lately about how Bush's mandate of moon and Mars includes cutting out every program that does not directly facilitate those two goals. It's not just Hubble, it's everything. And Hubble is still a valuable tool. NASA was not yet prepared to let it go. Over the past six months there were several different discoveries NASA made through Hubble.

Superbelt 01-16-2004 12:36 PM

There is the little bit about Bruce Garrett's (The guy who writes this blog) bio:

Quote:

Software Engineer for the Space Telescope Science Institute, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore Maryland. Self-educated artist and craftsperson. Fledgling home owner. My inclination is to see for myself and make what I need.
So I guess a guy like him may be in the know.

Superbelt 01-16-2004 12:44 PM

More because I care.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3387919.stm
Quote:

Friday, January 16, 2004
headline Hubble obtains deepest space view

excerpt Asked how Hubble is performing Dr Beckwith said: "Hubble is doing beautifully. It's working better than when it was new. We have not yet reached the limit of what it can do."
To be fair, they were planning on decomissioning Hubble after the next gyro servicing. But it was to replace it with better telescopes.
http://www.spacetelescopes.com/

Course, that won't be happening now under Bush's mandate. A shame progress has to be stunted like this. Hubble is NASA's greatest achievement behind the moon landing and one of the greatest scientific instruments ever built.

Ustwo 01-16-2004 12:59 PM

Hey I love astronomy, and if I wasn't such a practical bastard I've have gone into it, but if there is a finite amount of money I'd rather see a moon/mars mission. Maybe some of the european nations would want to foot the bill for the hubble (I know they use it, I don't know if they pay for it or not), or launch their own which would be just as good as the US doing it. I think there is a lot more to be gained on many levels from a mars mission than space telescopes right now.

Also congress loves to cut the NASA budget, as its the one thing they CAN cut without some group getting pissed off. You don't see people protesting, people saying 'think of the children', or people even voting based on the nasa budget. As such there is only so much you can do with it, and if its an either/or I pick Mars.

Superbelt 01-16-2004 01:06 PM

It doesn't have to be an either or. We've been to the Moon, just let it go if the funding isn't there without slashing everything NASA has been doing for the past 30 frigging years. Focus on pure science and start up the cogs for an international effort to Mars trip.

Lebell 01-16-2004 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Superbelt
More because I care.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3387919.stm


To be fair, they were planning on decomissioning Hubble after the next gyro servicing. But it was to replace it with better telescopes.
http://www.spacetelescopes.com/

Course, that won't be happening now under Bush's mandate. A shame progress has to be stunted like this. Hubble is NASA's greatest achievement behind the moon landing and one of the greatest scientific instruments ever built.

Dunno.

A telescope on the moon is every astronomer's dream.

It WILL happen, but ONLY if we get back to the moon and establish a base there.

I really don't see this as a set back.

Ustwo 01-16-2004 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Lebell
A telescope on the moon is every astronomer's dream.

Very good point I didn't think of.

healyk 01-16-2004 04:31 PM

The blogger cited in the original post has written more on the subject. Apparently the decision had more to do with the new safety guidelines for new shuttle missions than Bush's Moon/Mars plans.

Besides, saying that NASA is cutting anything that doesn't support Bush's plans is a bit of an exaggeration. Hubble's mission will likely be reduced by two or three years at the most (there are only 6 years left in its planned mission). As far as telescopes go, there's still SIRTF, GLAST, JWST. And there's plenty of science missions still planned and in development. Check here:

http://spacescience.nasa.gov/missions/index.htm

MSD 01-16-2004 05:01 PM

This sucks. I know it's starting to get old, but I'm sad to see it go. It's probably because my father worked on its construction (no, he wasn't the guy who screwed up the mirror :),) but I agree that it's one of their most advanced projects and I'd like to see it go on.

If I were rich, I'd buy the thing and put it in my living room after it's decommissioned.

j8ear 01-16-2004 07:18 PM

To the moon and beyond.

Imagine a telescope on Mars :) First our orbit, then our moon then our closest neighbor. Telescopes, robots, people. It's all pretty daggone exciting to me.

Do you really think they'll stop using the hubble? I doubt it. Once the US is established on the moon and headed to Mars, all the other fledgling Space agencies (are they all really that fledgling????) working within our orbit, trying to...

go to the moon and beyond,

as well,

-bear

Locobot 01-16-2004 07:19 PM

The idea that the new mars and moon base plans are an attempt to draw funding away from research that provides further evidence of global warming, ozone depletion, etc is pure conspiracy theory. This is however exactly the kind of conspiracy that I'd expect Bush to be involved in. I'm as excited as all the other nerds about space exploration, but this administration has done so little to instill trust in the past that I'm only left to guess and insinuate what the underlying motivations actually are. What good is a base on Mars if the Earth is left uninhabitable?

Ustwo 01-16-2004 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Locobot
The idea that the new mars and moon base plans are an attempt to draw funding away from research that provides further evidence of global warming, ozone depletion, etc is pure conspiracy theory. This is however exactly the kind of conspiracy that I'd expect Bush to be involved in. I'm as excited as all the other nerds about space exploration, but this administration has done so little to instill trust in the past that I'm only left to guess and insinuate what the underlying motivations actually are. What good is a base on Mars if the Earth is left uninhabitable?
Yes this is all a plot to draw funds away from global warming research!

The problem with this theory is its not only really insane, but satellite data is one of those darn bits of 'evidence' which does not show a global warming trend.

So you are saying Bush would cut funding to a program which shows what he claims?

2wolves 01-16-2004 09:17 PM

A large number of the 'born agains' are quite happy to have the space telescope(s) go bye-bye. Basic math was interferring with the 6k year old universe they insist on.

I must agree with Ustwo; we eliminate corporate welfare and the money problems for most of NASA's missions wouldn't be problems anymore.

2Wolves

Ustwo 01-16-2004 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by 2wolves
A large number of the 'born agains' are quite happy to have the space telescope(s) go bye-bye. Basic math was interferring with the 6k year old universe they insist on.

Yea, thats it :rolleyes:

Lebell 01-16-2004 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by 2wolves
A large number of the 'born agains' are quite happy to have the space telescope(s) go bye-bye. Basic math was interferring with the 6k year old universe they insist on.



I must let out with a hearty,

"Huh?"



2wolves,

Did you actually read this somewhere or are you just trading digs with Ustwo?

I'm really curious to read it if it's real.

Dilbert1234567 01-17-2004 01:44 AM

today is a sad day.

Sparhawk 01-17-2004 05:06 AM

I heard of the plans to scrap hubble several months ago, long before Bush announced his moon dreams, so it would appear to be unrelated...

Strange Famous 01-17-2004 05:15 AM

Cutting military spending by 20%

Taxing anyone who earns more than $100,000 a year at 50% income tax

This would sove a lot of funding issues. Including space exploration. Science is more important than bombs and millionaires.

hlprmnky 01-17-2004 09:13 AM

According to a Baltimore Sun article here
the reason that the scheduled servicing of the Hubble has been canceled is that, in order to meet the new Bush mandate that the ISS be completed by 2010, *all* shuttle traffic between now and then has to go to the ISS construction flights.

Another little gem from this article - some $200M in gear ALREADY BUILT for the Hubble will now sit in a warehouse somewhere, since it won't be possible to mount it before the Hubble's scheduled retirement in 2011.

Now, I'm all for manned exploration of Mars. But I think that this new space initiative is just one more example of the current administration coming up with an idea and then mandating an implementation from the hip without bothering to waste time with all those "experts" who "know what they're doing" and "have some legitimate problems with the Plan".

I mean, come *on*. A telescope on the Moon
is every astronomer's dream. But I bet if you polled active professional astronomers today
and asked them, 'What would you rather see, no telescope until 2011 and then both an improved HST (the James Webb, assuming
funding for it still exists) *and* a moonbase telescope, or the HST until 2011 and then the Webb taking over, and no moonbase until some later time?', the weight of public opinion would be strongly against taking the Hubble out of commission now.

Keep in mind, too, that for a moonbase to be useful to astronomers, it has to be on the
dark side of the moon. It is highly likely that the administration would want a base on the
light side, for many reasons, making the theorized 'moonbase telescope' an additional, very expensive and dangerous, project.

Ustwo 01-17-2004 09:34 AM

LINK

Quote:

Fighting to Save Hubble Telescope From Fiery Death

Stefan Lovgren
for National Geographic News
December 30, 2003

All good things must come to an end.

Or do they?

Scientists are divided over the fate of the Hubble Space Telescope, with some supporters criticizing plans to bring the telescope out of orbit while it's still working.

The lifespan of the Hubble telescope, which is almost unanimously celebrated by astronomers as an unparalleled success, has already been extended twice.

The NASA plan calls for a Hubble servicing mission in 2006, possibly followed by another one a few years later, that could keep the Hubble in space far beyond even the launch of the new James Webb Space Telescope in 2011.
Launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope is now living on borrowed time. Original plans for the observatory called for it to be retrieved at the end of its life and placed in a museum. But NASA now plans a more unceremonious demise for the telescope: crashing it into the ocean.


But after the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in February, the shuttle program has come to a grinding halt. Without servicing by the space shuttle, the Hubble is living on borrowed time.

So while the original plan called for the Hubble to be retrieved at the end of its life, and placed in a museum, NASA now plans a more unceremonious demise for the telescope: crashing it into the ocean.

That doesn't make sense to some Hubble fans, who say the telescope has grown ever more productive in its years in orbit. By killing it off, they argue, NASA is getting rid of its greatest public relations triumph.

"I don't think you can point to any greater success of NASA's, probably since putting a man on the moon, that has gotten people as excited about astronomy," said Michael Paolucci, president of savethehubble.org, a grassroots movement. "Taking it down underestimates its importance. It's almost as if the Hubble is just being cast aside."

Revolutionizing Astronomy

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, and it became an instant success. Orbiting 600 kilometers (375 miles) above Earth, Hubble can see farther into space than other telescopes, and thus also further back in time.

Using the Hubble, astronomers have found a multitude of galaxies never seen before, some dating nine-tenths of the way back to the big bang. The Hubble has mapped weather patterns on Neptune and storms on Mars, and even found evidence of a 13-billion-year-old planet, the oldest known.

"The Hubble Telescope has done nothing less than revolutionize astronomy and our understanding of the universe," said Bruce Betts, Director of Projects at the Planetary Society in Pasadena, California. "Its ability to peer into the distant universe is unparalleled."

Hubble, unlike most satellites, has no onboard propulsion system. Instead, it relies on gyroscopes and flywheels to point the telescope and maintain stability. The observatory is repaired during periodic service calls by a space shuttle.

Now, those repair visits are being reconsidered.

How long the Hubble will survive without further service missions depends on how long the gyroscopes keep working. Currently, four out of six are functioning; at least three are needed for the telescope to produce science.

Moving on to Webb

Left unserviced, the Hubble would eventually fall out of orbit and crash onto Earth, possibly in a populated area. That's why NASA is now instead planning a U.S. $300 million space tug that would launch on a Delta 2 rocket, grapple Hubble and guide the telescope into the Pacific Ocean.

NASA says the Hubble is in no immediate danger of falling, even if left unserviced, with one study predicting it would stay up until at least 2013.

"This is not a crisis or an urgent situation to deal with now," said Don Savage, a NASA spokesperson. "An independent scientific review will determine how it rates against other missions. The expectation is that they'll keep operating the Hubble as long as it's producing really good science."

While lauding Hubble's success, many NASA scientists are eager to move on to the James Webb Space Telescope, named after the NASA director who oversaw the Apollo missions. It is scheduled to launch in 2011.

The Webb telescope will be able to see farther away than Hubble, back toward to the beginning of time, because it's bigger and observes at infrared wavelengths, unlike Hubble, which sees in visible light and ultraviolet.

"With the Webb, we'll have a chance to see the very first things that lit up after the big bang," said John Mather, the Webb senior project scientist. "We have a lot of theories of what that might be, but almost no information."

Mather says the Webb is not meant as a replacement for Hubble, but should be seen as complimentary. In the future, a large, ground-based telescope could continue Hubble's work.

A Public Relations Dilemma

Paolucci, whose "Save the Hubble" campaign has attracted followers in the low thousands, recognizes the scientific need for the Webb telescope, but warns that Webb's infrared images will look less spectacular than the Hubble images.

By getting rid of the Hubble, Paolucci says, NASA is squandering a chance to expand public interest in space.

"They're not making the most use of the good will that has been built up around the Hubble," said Paolucci. "When you have this triumph that has captured the imagination of people, it seems they should look for ways to emphasize that and not dump the Hubble in the sea as if it's obsolete."

Other experts offer cautionary advice.

"NASA needs to carefully consider when to decommission Hubble," said Betts of the Planetary Society. "A working space telescope is a very precious asset. Clearly the decision to de-orbit Hubble should be dependent upon the successful start of operations of the James Webb Space Telescope, and even then shouldn't be entered into lightly."
There is a hell of a lot more here going on then what 'Evil' Bush wants to do, so before you decide to just blame him yet again for something, remember that you might not have all of the story.

Lebell 01-17-2004 10:17 AM

Thanks for that article Ustwo.

Indeed, there is much more going on.

hlprmnky 01-17-2004 06:52 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Ustwo

There is a hell of a lot more here going on then what 'Evil' Bush wants to do, so before you decide to just blame him yet again for something, remember that you might not have all of the story.

I second Lebell's thanks for another very informative article. For the record, I wasn't blaming "'Evil' Bush" for the Hubble mission *having* *an* *end*. The article I linked to above says :

Quote:

NASA officials said yesterday that the decision to cancel the final service mission was influenced by Bush's new space initiative, which calls for NASA to complete the International Space Station by 2010.

To meet that deadline, all future shuttle missions must be dedicated to the task, said John Grunsfeld, NASA's chief scientist.
This is what I'm "blaming" Bush for - given the current state of the shuttle program, and given that a single shuttle mission would be sufficient to keep the Hubble operational and doing useful work for (theoretically) another nine years or so, he still put his signature on an initiative that explicitly requires all shuttle traffic from now until 2010 to be used for completing the ISS.

Now, I am the first to admit that I don't have access to all the information our President has. And perhaps the future will bring some compromise that is not on my limited radar at present, that allows the space initiative to continue apace while also preserving the Hubble. Or maybe in the last quarter of 2009 the Jovians will launch their Hive-Ships against us, and we'll all praise GWB for having the foresight to push ahead on the ISS, our last bastion of defense from the alien invaders. :D

But given the information to which I have access, and given the track record of this administration thus far, I stand by my criticism of the decision to leave the fate of the Hubble up in the air, so to speak. It is taking a big risk with a still-functional NASA asset into which a non-trivial amount of capital has already been sunk, and it displays a puzzling lack of understanding of the importance of the Hubble project to the worldwide space science community.

Maybe you can explain how it is that Bush is making the right call here, without presuming that my criticism of his space initiative springs from lack of understanding, or knee-jerk liberal hatred of ${OTHER_TEAM}.

Ustwo 01-17-2004 06:57 PM

From the sound of it, the reason for keeping the hubble going is PR more then anything. I have a hubble image of the Eskimo nebula as my wallpaper and I can understand the PR aspect, but PR < Science for me.

MSD 01-17-2004 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Strange Famous
Cutting military spending by 20%


Most of which will come out of paychecks for the average soldier, nothing from the high ranks. This isn't an acceptable solution.


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