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NASA Debates How And When To Kill Hubble Telescope

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the roasted-on-a-bier-of-tax-dollars dept.

Space 555

Amy's Robot writes "The Washington Post reports that after 13 years of wear and tear, the Hubble telescope may be on the way out. NASA and some outside scientists have become involved in a heated debate about how and when to end the Hubble telescope program. Keeping Hubble in service until 2020 would require an extra maintenance visit by astronauts at a cost of at least $600 million. Some even worry the batteries could fail by 2010, since the next maintenance visit has been delayed by the Columbia accident and space station priorities. Is it worth maintaining our old friend Hubble, or should NASA let him go out in a blaze of glory?"

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555 comments

I already know.. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494121)


"How And When To Kill Hubble"

Professor Plum will use the candlestick in the library next Tuesday.

Re:I already know.. (5, Funny)

McAddress (673660) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494200)

i would propose using kill -9.

Must die? (1, Insightful)

skajake (613518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494129)

>> The Hubble Space Telescope must die

Why? Its up there, lets use it till gravity takes its course. (Or it fails mechanically)

Re:Must die? (4, Insightful)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494146)

Do you want a 12 tons falling on your house?

Instead, NASA's plan now calls for building an unmanned craft, which would be launched on a throwaway rocket and attach itself to the Hubble to steer the telescope safely into the Pacific Ocean -- eliminating any possibility that the 12.5-ton telescope could fall on, say, Mexico City or Miami.

Re:Must die? (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494149)

I agree. Let it be up there until it isn't usefull, or it dies of natural causes.

It might make a nice addition to the Smithsonian though.

Re:Must die? (0)

TheGrayArea (632781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494154)

You've got to be careful with gravity, it's not too particular with where it drops things. If gravity is going to bring it down, we need to bring it down in a controller area. Other than that I'd say let it run until the batteries die.
All things have a beginning and and end.

Re:Must die? (2, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494156)

Unfortunately, gravity might take its course and drop it on a city somewhere.

A large part of the reason why they want to destroy it on their own terms is so that they can control what happens.

Re:Must die? (1)

330Pilot (688005) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494177)

There's so much junk orbitting our planet that man and non-manned flights into space are becoming increasingly dangerous. It may help to take hubble out of orbit and destroying it.

Re:Must die? (2, Insightful)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494255)

Hubble is not the debris problem. The debris problem is the millions of tiny bits of rocket and sattelite detritus that are whizzing around earth. If the hubble is coming towards you it's pretty easy to see and dodge. If something the size of a saltshaker is coming towards you, it's not so easy to see and dodge, but it can kill you just as dead.

Personally, I'm all for nudging hubble out away from the plane of earth's orbit and just letting it float away and keep observing until it totally dies.

Re:Must die? (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494181)

They need to take it down before it fails mechanically. It's a rather large satellite, and several large pieces might survive reentry to impact on some unsuspecting person below. They will take it down deliberately while it is still working, so that they can ensure they will land in the ocean somewhere, and not on someone's house.

Re:Must die? (1, Funny)

Captain Poopypants (720974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494214)

can ensure they will land in the ocean somewhere

I thought they were going to crash it into Jupiter to avoid contaminating Earth with its plutonium core? I'm quite sure I read it somewhere.

Re:Must die? (4, Informative)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494203)

Hubble is a very upkeep-intensive device. Only very good engineering lets it last the length of time that it does between servicing missions.
Even if you don't upgrade the equipment, there is servicing that needs to be done. The biggest problem in the past has been the reaction wheels; they have spares but they DO fail. At one time they were one failure away from not being able to control the scope.

If you ARE going to go up and replace a few reaction wheels though, you might as well cart along an extra new instrument or two; no point in boosting to orbit and not bringing along new toys.

Re:Must die? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494205)

Who cares if it takes out a house or two?

How many houses are we taking out in iraq every day?

another Taco Bell target? (1, Funny)

roxy-skya (555923) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494250)

Do you think Taco Bell might set up another target for it to hit. Then the world could get free Chalupas...

Re:Must die? (2, Funny)

calethix (537786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494309)

I guess they don't know how the equation works.
x = cost of property damage when Hubble crashes + lawsuits from surviving relatives
y = cost of 'recalling' Hubble
If x is less than y, we don't do it.

For the time being. (3, Interesting)

nocomment (239368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494141)

Yes I think hubble should be maintained. At least until we get the Lunar observatory built. Then you will get some cool picures of hubble crashing into the sun.

Re:For the time being. (2, Insightful)

gorilla (36491) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494198)

Hubble couldn't crash into the sun without getting a signifant boost to get it out of Earth orbit.

Re:For the time being. (4, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494240)

Lunar observatory? How 'bout the James Webb Space Telescope [nasa.gov] , slated to launch on August 2011.

Re:For the time being. (3, Informative)

mz001b (122709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494338)

The JWST is an IR instrument. Hubble is visible/UV. Having them both up in orbit simultaneously would allow images of the same sources in all the bands, which would be very useful.

Re:For the time being. (1)

Marc Desrochers (606563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494275)

How about attachine it to the ISS? Or at least near it. Might make it a little more accessible when it needs service.

At least until there is a replacement (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494292)

At least in production. Being part of the great observatory project, it has specific wavelengths to observe.

It doesn't have to be the ultimate scope, but we should have a visible light observatory, located outside our atmosphere.

theoretically (-1, Flamebait)

nil5 (538942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494143)

hubble is worthless waste of money. we never should have launched it in the first place.

Re:theoretically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494186)

Aww, sounds like someone got turned down for welfare... again.

Better luck next time.

Re:theoretically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494194)

And we should have spent the money on exactly what?

(My vote - try to see if the hubble can be brought safely back to earth. For its museum (and hopefully) insperation value. )

wow first? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494145)

wow first?

How And When To Kill Hubble (0, Redundant)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494148)

I propose in the conservatory with the candlestick.

Oh...and when? Just after he's changed his will to leave everything to Anna Nicole Smith and his Shitsu.

Next generation (1)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494150)

Time to start planning Hubbleson, instead of burning money keeping the old one patched up .. in the end we'll have a much better telescope.

Re:Next generation (3, Insightful)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494234)

They already are planning it

The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2011, is designed to observe the universe in infrared wavelengths required to study the most distant galaxies as they accelerate outward.

But the problem is...It will not produce the spectacular visible wavelength images for which the Hubble is celebrated.

So no more great picutures of the universe like Hubble is famous for. I say that it is well worth the 600 mil to keep it up til at least 2020. As inspiration / backup, Hell that is less than a paltry 60 million a year.

Two birds, One stone (1, Funny)

Fux the Penguin (724045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494153)

First, I'll preface my comments by stating that I think the Hubble Space Telescope has been a fantastic boon to science. It has allowed us to peer farther out in space, and farther back in time, than we ever thought possible. This has helped increase not only scientific awareness among the public, but also helped push for greater funding for space-related enterprises in Congress. After all, there's nothing like a picture of a quasar, burning brightly as it streaks around the sun, to hypnotize a mentally deficient Senator into loosening the purse strings.

That said, I think the government has been spending far too much money on the telescope over the past few years. Sure, at first it was cheap and easy, and the "oooh's" and "aaahhh's" of delighted schoolchildren certainly help drown out the cacophony of "this costs HOW much?!" cries from whistle-blowing dog washers. So, perhaps, then it's time to make this enterprise profitable! I've been hearing a lot about space tourism, and I think this could be just the ticket to turn this failing boondoggle around.

How much do you think Lance Bass, Kenny Blankenship, or Julie Ahoolian would pay to travel to space to look through the telescope with their own eyes? I'd imagine quit a bit! Then, they could even turn the telescope around, and use it to peer back at our own home, Mother Earth. I bet you could see your house from up there! The only thing that worries me is that they may use it as a sun-focusing death ray to burn up enormous swaths of our fair countryside. However, that is a small price to pay to keep the Hubble up and flying, and to please celebrities.

The funds from this, of course, will pay to maintain the telescope. Also, keep in mind now that China dominates the skies, maintenance on the telescope could be outsourced to cheap Chinese immigrant labor. This seems like a win-win-win for all concerned, and I encourage you all to write your congress-people, and tell them, with one clear voice, "Keep our Space Microscope Accessible to Celebrities with Chinese Coolie Labor!"

Re:Two birds, One stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494216)

This was very funny and deserves to be modded up, but how the devil could anyone mark it as "informative" and "interesting"?

Best troll in a long time (0, Funny)

rarose (36450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494229)

The hubble is powerful enough it could probably even see you hiding under your bridge waiting to catch innocent newbies passing about your wee little head.

Re:Best troll in a long time (1)

Prince_Ali (614163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494256)

Actually the origin of the term would suggest that he is sitting in a slowly moving boat with his fishing line out behind it waiting for a newb to bite.

Re:Best troll in a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494273)

and the bites are coming in already!

Re:Best troll in a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494290)

This is true... but I wanted to go for the extra perjorative sense of "the other type of troll".

Re:Two birds, One stone (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494248)

"How much do you think Lance Bass, Kenny Blankenship, or Julie Ahoolian would pay to travel to space to look through the telescope with their own eyes?" Can't be done. The hubble isn't set up with an eyepiece, it's set up only for digital imaging. "Then, they could even turn the telescope around, and use it to peer back at our own home, Mother Earth. I bet you could see your house from up there!" Sorry, that's been thought of before and dismissed. The Hubble can't focus on anything that close to itself. It was designed for looking across the galaxy +, and it's nearest focal point is far beyond earth orbital dimensions. Exactly how many rich folks are going to pay for a useless trip up there anyhow? Did you read the cost for keeping it up? 600 million. That would take quite a few rich folks. Not gonna happen, even if it was a decent destination.

Re:Two birds, One stone (0)

vaccum pony (721932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494254)

pay to travel to space to look through the telescope with their own eyes?
The Hubble does not work like that. The light it gathers is collected on a CCD, it is not focused to an eyepiece. I'm not even going to bother with the "quasar, burning brightly as it streaks around the sun" bit.

Re:Two birds, One stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494298)

Perhaps you've heard of the new technology. It's called a joke.

Re:Two birds, One stone (0, Flamebait)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494281)

Um, that would all be very nice if it were possible to use the scope with an eyepiece. It wasn't designed for such. In fact, AFAIK no research grade telescope built in probably the last 20 years even has the ability to plug an eyepiece into it. Human eyes are just nowhere near as sensitive as CCDs.

Plus, you'd have to remove an instrumentation pack and let people crawl inside it. This would not only endanger surrounding equipment greatly, it would require at least a couple of days of downtime afterwards to recalibrate the inertial guidance.

You could probably see your house as a speck, but you wouldn't be able to resolve it. The Hubble is only a 2.4 meter telescope after all.

death ray... yeah... OK, obviously no grasp of optics here. I'm starting to think this article should be moderated "Funny" but I've already responded, so no moderating for me.

Re:Two birds, One stone (2, Funny)

AnonymousNoMore (721510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494287)

I like the idea of launching Lance Bass into space.

Re:Two birds, One stone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494316)

That was the most awesome troll I have ever read.

Mod parent down, please. (2, Funny)

HyperLemur (622212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494321)

This guy is talking through his hat. If anything would cause Chinese immigrant laborers to organize and demand overtime, it would be continuous bombardment with deadly high-energy cosmic rays. Just wouldn't be cost-effective.

Hubble Slide Show (4, Interesting)

Mad Man (166674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494155)

Cool slide show of Hubble photographs at http://wires.news.com.au/special/mm/030811-hubble. htm [news.com.au]

Re:Hubble Slide Show (3, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494212)

Great slide show, but can someone please slow it down, I'm about to hurl.

Re:Hubble Slide Show (1)

jatencio (536080) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494266)

You know, there is a pause button...

$600 Million (5, Insightful)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494157)

seems fairly cheap to me, compared to what it would cost to build and launch a new one

Re:$600 Million (1)

thebatlab (468898) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494261)

But when do you draw the line at repairing an old one and building a new state of the art one?

Re:$600 Million (1)

phraktyl (92649) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494320)

When the cost of maintainence becomes greater than the cost of replacement.

Re:$600 Million (5, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494280)

According to the JWST Website [nasa.gov] , the next generation space telescope will cost "$824.8 million". What were you saying about comparative cost, again?

Re:$600 Million (2, Interesting)

Zardoz44 (687730) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494307)

Cheaper than $6 Million [space.com] ?

Not the same, but you can't ignore the price.

Attach it to (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494158)

the ISS, so they can look at all the pretty wimmins here on earth.

Bring it Back? (2, Interesting)

ckotchey (184135) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494160)

I can't remember how Hubble was put up there - was it on a shuttle? If so, how feasible is it to just rope the thing in and bring it back? Is it worth the effort to do so and just fix it up, retrofit it, and re-launch, vs. dropping it out of the sky and building a new one?

Re:Bring it Back? (1)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494245)

They brought it into the cargo bay of one of the shuttles back when they had to give it the corrective optics. Assuming the shuttles ever are allowed to fly again it wouldn't be that hard to bring it down.

Re:Bring it Back? (1)

7*6 (258602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494264)

Well, it would be way too expensive to fix it back here - that's why they go out into space to do so. HOWEVER. Bringing it back is a fantastic idea, IMO, because it should be in a museum for future generations to admire. It's a piece of history, and letting it burn up is almost a shame.

Could they bring it back down? (3, Interesting)

rarose (36450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494163)

It'd be great if they could bring it home in the Shuttle and put it in the Smithsonian... I'm certain the museum would hang it from the ceiling!

Re:Could they bring it back down? (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494232)

Actually, I think that might not be such a bad idea, assuming the shuttle didn't have a round-trip payload filling up its cargo bay. It'd take a few man-hours to grab and stow, but might be even less expensive than putting up a specialized reentry device to guide it down safely.

Re:Could they bring it back down? (2, Interesting)

gorilla (36491) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494243)

I think the HST is too heavy for the shuttle to bring down. The mass that they can lift is significantly larger than the mass that they can return to Earth.

This may be... (1)

rarose (36450) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494333)

Though I'd think they could purge the tanks and drop all of the consumables to loose a lot of mass, and the reaction wheel assemblies I believe are on the bottom edge where they could be quickly detached in orbit and ditched.

Re:Could they bring it back down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494244)

Maybe they could at least bring part of it back home.

Re:Could they bring it back down? (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494303)

There's already a full-size model of it in the Air & Space Museum, IIRC. Not the same, I know...

Re:Could they bring it back down? (5, Informative)

essaunders (469150) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494318)

It looks like they were planning on bringing it back..

"Before the Columbia accident, NASA intended eventually to have a crew of astronauts maneuver the 43-foot-long telescope into a cargo bay and bring it home for installation in the National Air and Space Museum as an inspiration for future generations. A general unwillingness to subject astronauts to such risks for a museum exhibit, among other things, eliminated that option, Weiler said. "

but I know... that's from the second page : )

Re:Could they bring it back down? (5, Insightful)

Dawn Keyhotie (3145) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494323)

Actually, that was the initial plan. Including hanging it from the ceiling in the Smithsonian. But now with the Columbia accident, no one wants to put astronauts' lives on the line just to retreive a museum piece.

I think it would be stupid^H^H^H^H^H^Hoverly optimistic to de-orbit Hubble until the new Webb space telescope is launched and fully tested. After all, how dumb would NASA look if it destroyed a perfectly good piece of equipment, and then its replacement fubared because of a mismatched washer or something.

And right now, the plan is to do just that, to bring down Hubble before Webb is even launched, to save a few (million) bucks in Hubble operational costs. And the big debate is that everyone with any sense, and any sense of history, is telling them (NASA penny pinchers) that they're crazy.

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Something NASA should consider before taking penny-wise, pound-foolish steps.

Cheers!

They should bring it back. (2, Interesting)

rune.w (720113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494169)

This may sound idealistic, but whether they choose to prolong the mission or not, NASA should definitely consider bringing back the Hubble. It has tought us so much about the universe, and it's such a great piece of History that it's worth to be displayed in a place like the Smithsonian.

R,

Magnifying Glass (-1, Flamebait)

FraggleMI (117868) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494174)

I think they should turn it around and fry the mideast like Magnifying Glass's and ants...That would be a lot cheaper than the hypocritical "Smart Bombs" with Dubya's name on them.

Re:Magnifying Glass (1)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494268)

But clever uses for space junk don't result in checks written to "campaign donators." Isn't that why we went to war in the first place?

TROLL?!?! (-1, Offtopic)

FraggleMI (117868) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494332)

How so?

What Worries Me (1)

Little Brother (122447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494175)

They say they need to free up money to allow a newcommer (next generation orbital telescope) but once they ditch hubble, will they put the saved money into its successor, or another round of taxcuts for the well-to-do?

Somehow there needs to be a way to gaurentee a next generation before ditching our current technology.

Re:What Worries Me (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494328)

I think they'll keep HST running until the Next-Generation Space Telescope (NGST) is up and running. I can forsee that NGST could be designed so it could be deployed from either the Space Shuttle or the ESA Ariane V launch vehicle.

Given the design of NGST, it might even have less mass than HST because improvements in optics technology will eliminate the need for the long and heavy structure that the HST needed. I wouldn't be surprised that NGST will use adaptive optics for improved focus.

Stop wasting money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494188)

Stop wasting money on pipedreams. Spend it on our national defence and economy.

Re:Stop wasting money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494289)

Yeah! Down with science! Up with useless missile defense technology and corporate welfare! --

DO NOT STARE DIRECTLY AT THIS POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494190)

IT IS FROSTY ENOUGH TO SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF MOST MOTHERFUCKERS!

I AM ON TEH SPOKE!

posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account. posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account. posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Is it possible... (2, Interesting)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494196)

To push it out of our orbit, and see what kind of images is gets while it heads out of our solar system (and beyond maybe)? Or is is calibrated in such a way that it can only serve its purpose from our orbit?

Here's an idea... (4, Insightful)

MoeMoe (659154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494197)

Give the "hunk-of-junk" to me... I'm sure I can find many... uses, for it... **cough** SETI@HOME [berkeley.edu] **cough**

Jesus Christ man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494295)

Hubble this [sfbg.com] instead of something that you're highly unlikely to see!

Hubble trouble? (2, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494202)

Hubble bubble, toil and trouble...

Seriously, without knowing how much work is involved, would it be possible for NASA to retreive Hubble with a shuttle after a routine mission had been completed? Hubble has taught us so much it deserves to be retained in a museum somewhere. In a way, it's been as important to astronomers and astrophysicists as perhaps the Wright brothers' flyer was to aviators. It would be a crying shame to let it just burn up in the atmosphere.

Re:Hubble trouble? (0)

annisette (682090) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494311)

I agree, the shuttle should launch full and return full reguardless if the missions are intertwined. An extra twenty million or so to go out of their way once in orbit would be cheaper than another 500 million dollar launch.

Is it worth it? Yes and No. (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494206)

Is it worth maintaining our old friend Hubble, or should NASA let him go out in a blaze of glory?

It's already beyond its original expected mission lifetime. It's worth maintaining, if it were just a matter of money and labor and willpower.

However, the very real issues of the unforeseen logistics hurdles can really shift the equation. Shuttles don't fly this year. Congress is in a cut-taxes, cut-spending mode. Space Station gets the focus of any meager space program priorities in the interim.

Ebay the remaining observation time (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494207)

I wonder if they can keep things going for a while by auctioning off time of the telescope? I doubt they could raise 600 million, but I'd bet they could keep things going for a while.

How much have we looked at? (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494208)

I mean in 13 years, how much is it that the Hubble telescope can see that it hasn't done yet? Is it now mostly "humm has anything changed" or is the exposure time so long and the focus so small that only a small part of the sky has been charted?

If it's the former, let it die and make a new, stronger and better one and send up. If it's the latter, fix it up and keep it running so it can continue to do its thing.

Kjella

Re:How much have we looked at? (0)

Captain Poopypants (720974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494231)

I mean in 13 years, how much is it that the Hubble telescope can see that it hasn't done yet?

I read somewhere that the telescopes on Earth can already beat Hubble by using adaptive optics.

Already too late (1, Insightful)

Slowtreme (701746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494213)

Shouldn't this kind of discussion occur before we send Tons of metal/glass into space with the possibility of it comming back down? That said, whoever sent it up on the shuttle should send the shuttle back to retrive it. This whole "let it fall back to earth" way of dealing with our space trash is going to get someone killed. Part of any launch budget should include retrival costs that go in an Escrow until it's time to go get it.

Re:Already too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494263)

Right, cos they couldn't possibly control when or where it re-enters the atmosphere so that it burns out over the Pacific somewhere instead of a major population center.

Yeah, it's all just wild guesswork and cracksmoking going on at NASA, been like that since the beginning. How we ever got into space in the first place is beyond me.

Hubble! I'm sorry hubble! (1)

UPAAntilles (693635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494221)

It would be incredibly difficult, as well as dangerous to bring it back, but it would be really, really cool, so maybe it's worth it.

As for when it should be decommisioned, it should happen when we have a replacement for it, it is a great research tool and we can't afford to lose it. Ground based telescopes are so limited. Besides, how else are we going to look back 8 billion years if we don't replace it right away? Something might happen ;-)

Re:Hubble! I'm sorry hubble! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494302)

"Besides, how else are we going to look back 8 billion years if we don't replace it right away? Something might happen"

... don't you mean "might HAVE happened"? ;-)

Sell it to the NSA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494237)

They can turn it around and use it to spy on americans.

Free suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494239)

Attach a rocket pack and crash it on Europa. Might take some interesting pictures before impact.

Re:Free suggestion (0)

Captain Poopypants (720974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494286)

Hear, hear! Drop it on the France!

Hubble 2.0 - the design principle (4, Interesting)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494247)

If you haven't read the article, just taking amoment to read the first paragraph really summarizes it to me. I was just a teen when Hubble was launched but the images of space that Hubble gave me were a personal experience, though I have no connection to the industry of space exploration in the slightest.

To me, it seems like destroying Hubble is not a fitting end to a tool that has built so much for us for over a decade.

So I wonder, why are devices like Hubble not built to be retooled - built with some type of standard socket connections so batteries, comupters, lenses, etc. could be more easily upgraded by swapping out major units and bolting them together on a frame just like a computer?

Would a shift in design principles not be the ultimate homage to Hubble, that it would live on as inspiration for developing space exploration devices that were upgradable? ...On the other hand, didn't they think of all these things 13 years ago when the were launching Hubble?

How and when to kill NASA (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494251)

NASA has become pointless. The purpose of the shuttle fleet is to build the ISS. The purpose of the ISS is to develop ways to keep people alive in space long enough to get to Mars. There are no concrete plans to go to Mars. Going there on chemical fuels will never work very well anyway. Give it up.

Turn the shuttles over to the USAF, let them launch one of them out of Vandenberg when they have to, and dump the Government-funded civilian space program.

Further work on space propulsion systems should be moved to the Department of Energy.

We already know how it will end... [humor] (4, Funny)

RomSteady (533144) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494260)

Anyone who has seen Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie knows how this will end...

"Mike killed the Hubble! Mike killed the Hubble!"

Hubble is a really SPY SAT to point at earth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494269)

Hubble is a SPY SAT to point at earth.

Others exist taht do it bettter, That is why it is allowed to die. It was 85% science and 15% classified spying.

You never hear about the spying part under penalty of imprisonment.

That damned huge thing points down at earth at times, though not its most sensitive sensors that can theoretically get stressed.

Its a spy sat. i do not care if it dies that much.

EBay? (2, Funny)

phrostie (121428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494276)

rather than putting it into the Atmosphere, why not put it up on Ebay.

one deep space telescope. has seen where no man has seen before.
used, with millions of miles. as is, where is.

been refurbed a few times but will let go to
good new home. procedes will go to new programs.

When's the replacement? (1)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494277)

This site [esa.int] (sorry I couldn't find a better one!) says the replacement will ready by 2008. I take this to mean around 2012, realistically, ie cynically.

They should just keep Hubble up long enough until the replacement is up and working. Otherwise, we will suffer a significant lapse in astronomical research.

As for what do with it once it's deactivated? I say we try scavenging it for parts and drop the rest into the Pacific. The UV/IR sensors and whatever else is on board must be worth something to someone...

Give it some dignity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494279)

The HST has been an incredible success. Not to launch a discussion of national priorities, but we seem to have plenty of $$$ for plutocratic tax cuts and Earthbound warfare ... might as well keep the Hubble alive until something better comes along, or it stops producing good astronomy (unlikely).

That said ... we need to ditch the shuttle. It has drastically limited our space exploration and was never meant to be our sole launch vehicle. It's also ten times more expensive than it was supposed to be. Space plane, next-gen rockets, whatever -- just move on, NASA.

Of course that will require funding too. Maybe they should tax dividend income.

Easy Solutions(TM) by teamhasnoi! (3, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494285)

Give it a porn mag, it will go blind in no time.

Crash it into the moon - we can then finally see if that flag is up there.

Send some elementary school kids up there. If they don't destroy it by doing the monkey bars on its delicate superstructure, they'll hasten its suicide by circling it and chanting, "One Eye, Got One Eye, One Eye, Got One Eye!"

Ask it what time it is, then when it looks at its wrist, hit it with a hammer.

Rename it Old Yeller. Dad'll put it down, while you weep into your dusty wool shirt.

Just put a Democrat on it! It will be sure to 'mysteriously' crash, probably in a wooded area full of hippies.

Remember MIR? (1)

VMaN (164134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494288)

Does anyone remember just how much MIR was sold for on EBay? I mean... it seems that if people are willing to pay 10K $ for a piece of genuine space junk fished up from the Pacific, it would almost be profitable to send up a couple of shuttles and sell it by the pound on auction..

if we can't bring it back (0)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494294)

Then can we send it the way of the Voyager crafts? A Kevlar(tm) vest around it to protect from microdust, escape velocity perpendicular to the Milky Way, and if we're lucky, some other civilization will find it and use it to look at us.

let it go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7494301)

and send a better one - you know, one with a proper reflector this time...

A way to save it...? (4, Interesting)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494317)

I wonder if it's at all possible or feasible to figure out a way to attach it to the space station. Then it can be either maintained by crew on the station from time to time (since the space station seems to be where we're keeping or interests/people), or slowly scrapped. There's gotta be a few million $$ of parts that can be reused on that sucker, no?

Spacelab, Mir, now Hubble. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494319)

Lets hope that NASA thinks carefully about it. It would have been useful to have Spacelab or Mir up there. Hubble still has a lot of usefulness even at US$ 3/4 B. The science that we have received has been awesome.

The next generation is already being worked on. (3, Interesting)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7494336)

Link [nasa.gov]

Therefore a logical decommissioning date would be just after the new scope is up and checks out functionally.

Has anyone thought about automating this stuff? Make these things modular so unmanned robots can do the servicing and updating. Embed little marker tags into the craft so an approaching repair-bot can find its way around, like those robots that follow colored lines on the floor.

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