Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA to Reconsider Hubble Decision

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the measure-twice-cut-once dept.

Space 331

blamanj writes "It's not dead yet. With cries of opposition coming in from all quarters, NASA has decided to review its earlier decision. Adm. Hal Gehman, chairman of the board that investigated the Columbia shuttle breakup last year, will 'review the (Hubble) matter and offer his unique perspective,' NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said"

cancel ×

331 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

They for one need some insight on real life (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134478)

like this... [goat.cx]

effffff.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134482)

peeeeeee!

cram it, bitches.

I've got an idea... (5, Funny)

banzai75 (310300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134486)

At the very least, they should turn it around and point it at some nude beaches.

Re:I've got an idea... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134621)

I'm not sure I want to see nakey 70 year old wrinkles with the Hubble. Uggh, mental image, can't get rid of it! DAmmit!

Homer in a speedo (3, Funny)

jhines (82154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134853)

That episode makes me glad the US doesn't have very many nude beaches.

Re:Homer in a speedo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134942)

Yea that's way worse than France where you have to deal with the furry women. Actually, anyone that goes to a nude beach probably isn't worth looking at. Anyone who's good looking will want to be paid to be nude.

Re:I've got an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134917)

WWJD? [about.com]

Unique perspective? (0)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134492)

'review the (Hubble) matter and offer his unique perspective,'

What is so unique about his perspective? Because he was involved in an advisory board?

Re:Unique perspective? (4, Funny)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134523)

If I remember correctly, both he and the Hubble use the same prescription.

Re:Unique perspective? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134633)

He knows most about how safe the Shuttle missions required to service it will be.

Re:Unique perspective? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134751)

What is so unique about his perspective? Because he was involved in an advisory board?

Well, look at it this way. If you, Administrator O'Keefe, order a Hubble servicing mission and something goes terribly wrong, your career along with several people's lives are almost guaranteed to be forfeit. Are you going to make that order against the better judgment of the CAIB which was responsible for unravelling the previous catastrophe? No -- if you're even thinking about going back to Hubble, this guy needs to be involved.

Fig leaf (3, Interesting)

amightywind (691887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134812)

O'Keefe is obviously being pressured by Hubble's political constituency. He needs validation of his controversial (but in my mind correct) decision to quell the disent. Who better than Adm. Hal Gehman who effectively put severe limitations on the further use of the Space Shuttle without being completely specific about its future use. I think it is very clever on O'Keefe's part. NASA had to swallow all of the recommendations of Gehman's board of review, whether they made sense or not. O'Keefe just wants to put responsibility on Gehman if an orbiter is stranded servicing Hubble. It is against O'Keefe's better judgement.

Re:Unique perspective? (1)

TehHustler (709893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134813)

I would guess he is referring to the fact that since Hubble's shelving was due to safety issues surrounding the shuttle flights post Columbia, he would be in a good position to give his insight onto the risks and the pros/cons.

In other news ... (-1, Offtopic)

the real darkskye (723822) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134494)

NASA have been hit hard by MyDoom
"It's been overwhelming. My e-mail is overflowing," said Steve Beckwith, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

From the article... (5, Funny)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134496)

He had cited the risk to the astronauts on a Hubble mission and President Bush (news - web sites)'s plans to send humans to the moon, Mars and beyond as the reason for NASA's change of focus.


Attention Martians: If you see a gentleman in a suit with a texas accent, and slightly funny ears, landing, be sure to send him back - he wants your oil!

Re:From the article... (4, Funny)

The Night Watchman (170430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134520)

Attention Martians: If you see a gentleman in a suit with a texas accent, and slightly funny ears, landing, be sure to send him back - he wants your oil!

Either that, or he's Ross Perot, in which case he'll try to become your leader. If that happens, don't bother sending him back. You can keep him.

---

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134499)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134524)

Ah, I love a classic troll. Could you do the BSD is dying one next?

Space now belongs to developing countries? (5, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134500)

The Yahoo! article points to savethehubble.com [savethehubble.com] , owned by a Brazilian fan of the telescope. He's posted some of the comments he's received, including a rant from a visitor who takes Hubble proponents to task for "not telling the full story" about the safety concerns of launching another shuttle.

The site owner's response may show where future advances in space will occur.
Brazil's NGP is about 8% that of US but I guess we could spare some. Nasa has one Brazilian astronaut who, I bet, will go up anytime - as will any american. Last year
21 Brazilian technicians died in an explosion [space.com] while working on our rocket. The program is still on.
It looks like it's boiling down to a (deceptively) simple question: will you risk your life for your dreams? More importantly: will your country allow you to take that risk?

Brazil's answer seems to be, "yes". Meanwhile, here in the US, we're too busy killing ourselves in our SUVs [thedetroitproject.com] . And don't get me started on 500+ dead and hundreds of $billions spent on the other side of own ball of rock!

No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134656)

And don't get me started on 500+ dead and hundreds of $billions spent on the other side of own ball of rock!

Don't worry. That's the last thing we'd do. There's nothing more mind destroying and numbing than a prattling ideologe. Yeesh!

Mod Parent Down -1:Political Crybabying! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134668)

Need I say more?

Re:Mod Parent Down -1:Political Crybabying! (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134769)

Ah, nothing like an AC attack on the last line of a multi-paragraph posting to get the day started. Thanks!

Re:Space now belongs to developing countries? (0, Offtopic)

FroMan (111520) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134974)

Gosh, if you were only able to keep it at wanting to save the Hubble, but no, you have to go and look like an idiot.

According to your logic, Saddam was very effective in his space program. Much more than 21 dead, huh? Perhaps his plan was to stack the bodies as a space elevator? He was just getting the foundation finished.

The reason only 500+ US soldiers have died is because we value life so highly. We spend billions to keep our troops armed to the teeth with the best weapons and machinery possible.

Its crazy how successful the US is while still keeping human life in such a high esteem. We are not going to throw away human lives simpley because we have a dream. We will take a measured amount of risk.

Hah. (0, Offtopic)

the_burton (147439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134508)

.... "Try previewing your posts before you hit submit!"

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

I'm not a script, da (638454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134543)

...post previews you!

What a country!

I dont understand (4, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134516)

Maybe it is just me, but I don't understand the point of abandoning a space project and crashing it into the earth. Why not push it out to space a little more... to somewhat a safe distance, and GIVE it to someone, like a school, or something. Im sure SOMEONE can put things like this, or a SPACE STATION to good use. Maybe if it isnt even in the immediate future, I think there is plenty of empty space out there, that we can even park them anywhere. Even if that is orbiting the moon... and if it gets destroyed, there will be no issue

Re:I dont understand (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134546)

Only the space shuttle can push the Hubble out.

Re:I dont understand (3, Informative)

dtolman (688781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134562)

Only the space shuttle can push the Hubble out. Not true. An unmanned mission could boost its orbit (NASA was already considering an unmanned mission to de-orbit the HST - no reason it couldn't boost it instead). The shuttle is just the only vehicle that can repair any damaged parts, and upgrade components...

Re:I dont understand (3, Informative)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134549)

It takes energy to boost things into higher orbits - what's more, it takes fuel. And that, right now, means a shuttle needs to stop by and give the Hubble a little nudge every now and then (the same with the ISS). Communications satellites orbit much higher, so they face less drag, and they're generally considered disposable in any event, since any repair hardware would cost more to launch than a complete new satellite.

Re:I dont understand (1)

Chep (25806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134712)

ISS: not true; it does have a set of thrusters and some manoeuvering capability, albeit the bulk of the pushes are done using Progress modules.

You do need to send something up regularly to resupply the ISS in various fluids, including fuel.

I remember in the old Shuttle-Mir days, how they actually had to LOWER Mir's orbit so that the shuttle would usefully be able to rendezvous...

Re:I dont understand (5, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134699)

Maybe it is just me, but I don't understand the point of abandoning a space project and crashing it into the earth. Why not push it out to space a little more...

The concept seems so simple, but the reality is much more complex. IANARS (I am not a rocket scientist), but orbital mechanics just don't work at all like you're used to things working on earth (or in Star [Trek|Wars]).

For one thing, if you give an orbiting object a push "up", that doesn't send it away from the planet! It just puts it in a higher orbit, and probably an elliptical one at that. An ellipse (oval) seems fine, but the Earth probably is at a focus, not the "center". If you've lowered the close point (perigee?) into the atmosphere, you've got big trouble.

Hubble simply doesn't have the sort of thruster that could boost it into a higher, more stable orbit. There are proposals to strap on a booster to do that job, but you've either got to send someone up to attach it, or find a foolproof way of doing it robotically. Remember, Hubble wasn't designed to be reboosted by anything but the shuttle!

And things go wrong -- remember the time the Shuttle crew had to build a flyswatter-looking thing to flip a switch on a satellite they'd just launched. More recently, of course, there's Mars, the Ship-Eating Planet.

I agree, you don't understand (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134736)

I think they should continue to service the Hubble, at least until its replacement is online. However, at some point it will have to be abandoned as components fail. When it comes time to abandon it, there are a few options:

1) Let it return to the Earth. Probably the cheapest possible option.

2) Spend money and risk lives to push it farther out into space, possibly into Lunar orbit. This means that when it breaks down, it cannot be repaired because we do not have a system of getting people to it reliably.

3) Donate it to some other organization. Tell me about this organization that will spend $100s of millions to maintain the Hubble. If they cannot or will not spend the money, result #1 will occur.

If you want to focus on a waste of resources, look at the ISS. What a boondoggle.

Re:I dont understand (5, Insightful)

Croaker (10633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134754)

With just one or two spare gyros, I doubt any group would be able to use the Hubble for very long. After the gyros give out, you'll have a very large hunk of hardware travelling at thousands of miles per hour that's completely out of control. Even in orbit, with less stuff to crash into, that's a Really Really Bad Thing. Boosting hubble out to a permenent orbit (or at least out to one that would last 50 years or so until we would presumably have craft more capable of either fetching it or enshrining it) would be a huge cost. We have nothing on the shelf to do it now, and it would be cheaper to just dump the thing into the ocean. What I think we should be developing, in addition to a shuttle replacement, is robotic repair vehicles that we could use in case of a backup, or in cases of hardware that we really don't want people risking their lives for. Hubble, certainly, has intrinsic and sentimental value that people would be willing to take a risk to save. Somehow, I sort of doubt anyone wants to risk their lives repairing generic communications satillite #5 so soccer moms can continue to yak on their cell phones while causing mayhem in their SUVs. That means that we'd have to design satillites for easy repair using robots (more modular, easier access, etc.) Modularity probably wouldn't be a bad thing, anyhow. I suspect if we can develop robots that can (mostly, sorta) work on Mars, we can develop ones for earth orbit that can swap in and out some modules.

Post mortem (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134900)

is there any value in retrieving the dead gyros for analysis on why they failed? and how to improve the design for future projects?

Re:I dont understand (2, Insightful)

jskiff (746548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134933)

IIRC, the Hubble is on a completely different orbital plane than the ISS, and NASA is now taking the approach that once the shuttle launches, it will always be in a close enough orbit to the ISS that they could dock there in an emergency.

It's not possible to carry the amount of fuel it would take to reach both the ISS and Hubble on the current shuttle.

Off Topic: I just finished watching HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon" miniseries that they produced a few years back. It was enlightening, inspiring, and amazing to see how much NASA did in such short time, in addition to how much risk was involved. Will someone please tell exactly when NASA lost their balls?

Thank God (5, Informative)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134521)

Hubble gave us a new perspective on what it means to feel small and insignificant in the universe. Take a look at all the images it has produced- I've downloaded many and had them dumped to AgX paper so I can hang them up on the wall.

Hell, just click over to the hubble site here http://hubble.nasa.gov/image-gallery/ [nasa.gov] and you'll see star formation.

Just don't take away the tool that has cleaned a small bit of grease off the window to the universe and let us see what's out there. We need more photos to help 'instruct' some people down here that already are too big for their own good.

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134840)

Exactly. Haven't you read "Titan"? I recommend you do.

NASA can't do much without the shuttle... (4, Interesting)

dtolman (688781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134528)

Without the shuttle to replace the failing gyro's onboard the Hubble, their isn't much that NASA can do, besides boost its orbit... Pretty much their choices are: -reconsider shuttle usage -ask the Russians to help with a manned mission (would need to send up a capsule, and something to hold the paylod - Soyuz is too small to hold all the replacement parts and astronauts) -come up with an unmanned mission to boost the orbit (this still wouldn't address failing gyros and other critical parts wearing out)

Re:NASA can't do much without the shuttle... (3, Interesting)

emtboy9 (99534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134651)

Sure there is. Remote controlled robots... Hell, they are used to repair deep ocean communication lines and such, explore wrecked ships, and, with the exception of the recent hardware/software issues, have been remote controlled on planets several hundred million miles away for scientific research.

You would think it would be child's play for NASA to send up a pair of remote controlled robots in a simple freight rocket (i.e. Arienne or similar), boost them into proximity, bring them over to Hubble, and perform the repairs remotely.

It may take longer to do the work than it would with a shuttle mission, but it would be a hell of a lot cheaper, and would ensure that Hubble stays around for a lot longer...

Re:NASA can't do much without the shuttle... (5, Interesting)

dtolman (688781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134709)

You would think it would be child's play for NASA to send up a pair of remote controlled robots in a simple freight rocket (i.e. Arienne or similar), boost them into proximity, bring them over to Hubble, and perform the repairs remotely.

Not so sure about that - a typical hubble repair mission involved about 5 days each with 8-10 hours of spacewalks. It also required a lot of fine motor control (they need to get into some tight spaces), and a big bag of various tools.

As much as I wish NASA could create robots like these and send them up... they would need to pretty much design these robots from scratch.

Since they would need to be constructed and programmed within the next 4 years or so - thats probably not in the realm of feasibilty.

Re:NASA can't do much without the shuttle... (1)

emtboy9 (99534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134823)

True enough I guess... But desperate times call for desperate measures... and I so love the Images that Hubbel sends back... some of the most beautiful thigns I have seen.

But hey, if NASA can build a super shuttle and a pair of deep space astroid mining rigs to save us from impending comet disaster, AND manage to send a group ragtag geniuses to the center of the earth, anything is possible...

Re:NASA can't do much without the shuttle... (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134885)

The Hubble's orbital period is 96 minutes. Last I checked, the ocean is fairly sedentary. Your remote repair would be kind of tricky. Not saying it couldn't be done, but I wouldn't call it child's play.

Backup mission (1)

jhines (82154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134833)

The Russians could have a Soyuz on the pad nearly ready to go. If the shuttle has another problem, they can launch a rescue mission.

If the shuttle lands safely, send the Soyuz up to the ISS.

Cost ? (3, Insightful)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134530)

With the cost of sending things to mars, and George bush all in "I'm happy spending truckloads of money" mood, I'm sure a few million $ to spend on keeping hubble operational could be found.

Hell, if they turn it round to face us, they could use to to find terrorists and stick it on the war against terror budget ;)

Re:Cost ? (1)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134628)

Or they could just sell it to one of those nude celibrity porn sites, for similiar purposes...

Re:Cost ? (1)

Mindwarp (15738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134910)

I'm sure a few million $ to spend on keeping hubble operational could be found.

That's the problem though. In order to keep Hubble operational they need shuttle launches which at $1Bn a pop are not exactly a minor blip on the balance sheet. Plus of course George wants to spend that money on his daring bid for re-election^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HMars instead. Of course, I'll believe that when I see it.

Hell, if they turn it round to face us, they could use to to find terrorists and stick it on the war against terror budget ;)

Or just sell it to Mark Burnett and watch him create the latest greatest 'reality TV' show with it.

Re:Cost ? (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 10 years ago | (#8135029)

The figure is more like $300 million. Still not cheap, but a lot less than a billion...

(http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codea/codeae/docu me ntc.html)

O'Keefe, not Bush (3, Interesting)

kippy (416183) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134987)

This wasn't Bush's call. This was NASA trying to appear "decisive" in implementing the new space push. Mismanagement on their part as usual. Don't be so dismissive of it either. If we do establish a presence on the Moon, we'll be able to build a telescope that will make Hubble look like a 25-cent plastic magnifying glass.

Can i have it? (5, Funny)

martinwallgren (684341) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134536)

Well, if they don't want it, can I have it? I only have one tree in the back so it would be nice to tie a hammock to.

Yeah, right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134542)

Admiral overrides presidental decision, news at 11.

Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (2, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134544)


If they decide to not continue operating the Hubble it'd be nice to see it in the Smithsonian or on loan to other museums. Having that unique piece of equipment within arms reach of kids may give them the spark to pursue a career in science or at least make them appreciate it.

A phoney mock-up won't do, it have the real thing there: pits, warts and all. One of my earliest museum memories (very early 70's?) from our provincial museum [manitobamuseum.mb.ca] was "Sputnik" on display. I remember being in awe of it until my mom told me it wasn't the real Sputnik. It was a let down, like realizing Santa isn't real. Being told a few bones in otherwise complete dinosaur skeletons wasn't nearly as bad, at least most of the bones were legit.

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134567)


Being told a few bones in otherwise complete dinosaur skeletons wasn't nearly as bad, at least most of the bones were legit
Bah, I need more coffee. I meant "Being told a few bones in otherwise complete dinosaur skeletons were man-made wasn't nearly as bad, at least most of the bones were legit"

Uh.... (1, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134588)

it'd be nice to see it in the Smithsonian

Wouldn't the risk and cost of safely returning it to Earth be far greater than just going and maintaining it?

I remember being in awe of it until my mom told me it wasn't the real Sputnik. It was a let down, like realizing Santa isn't real.

Sorry, Virginia. No Santy Claus. And no billion dollar operation to get the Hubble back to Earth to assuage your severe childhood trauma.

And I hate to break it to you, but most of the dinosaur skeletons on actual display are casts from the originals.

Re:Uh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134747)


And I hate to break it to you, but most of the dinosaur skeletons on actual display are casts from the originals.

You've shattered me. May as well leave go out for a soothing beer or 8 now :(

Re:Uh.... (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134793)

You'll get over it.

I did. :-)

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (1)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134608)

Landing it intact would require shielding it from the heat of re-entry, which would mean a shuttle mission (and I'm not even sure if it would fit in the shuttle).

That would be expensive as hell.

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134659)

they brought it up in the shuttle

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (4, Informative)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134733)

It'll fit in the shuttle (that's how it got up there in the first place). However, the shuttle's landing gear won't support the added weight on landing.

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (2, Insightful)

TehHustler (709893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134861)

Not strictly true, the plan was ALWAYS going to be "lets bring it back down".

The problem is that the increased weight means more heat build up as you come in through the atmosphere. All this talk about risking lives to get something for a museum is completely justified, you only have to remember the yellowy streaks over Texas last year to remember that.

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134873)

It'll fit in the shuttle (that's how it got up there in the first place). However, the shuttle's landing gear won't support the added weight on landing.

Are you sure of this? I was under the impression that before Columbia, a shuttle mission to deliver the Hubble safely to the Smithsonian was already being planned for.

Re:Bring it down if you don't continue using it. (1)

herwin (169154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134714)

My kids got to go inside a real Soyuz back in 1979--I don't think they've ever forgotten the experience. The problem with the Hubble is that the reliability of the Shuttle isn't that great. At least the crew would be able to inspect the shield before reentry. Bring back the Apollo capsules! (We have a chunk of the Apollo 13 heat shield at the house--my father-in-law did the engineering.)

Pretty stupid, eh ? (1)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134548)

They will go to the moon where it's easier and cheaper to install such a teleskope. Furthermore they don't have any decent other scientifics goals for the moons misson yet.
But, hey, let's burn taxpayers dollars at end-80ies technology !

Guess why some people want to close the NASA.

Pretty stupid, eh? (I won't disagree) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134899)

Proud owner of a Mensa membership card.

WOW. That means you might have gotten more than 1250 or so on your SAT's. Impressive. Or not.

Of course the real question is if it's in your name.

Upgrade the imaging computers? (1, Interesting)

Filmwatcher888 (595369) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134557)

There wasa previous slashdot article talking abouit the advances in imaging processors. Couldn't they dso the same for the Hubble? The lenses are great (albeit slightly flawed), but with such raw data, new computers will pull better info.

Come on now (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134564)

Their previous decision may have been unpopular, but this is ridiculous. NASA needs to learn how to make a game-plan and stand by it, rather than trying to do everything in a really half-assed way. Plus, if they had waited a bit longer, I think they might have seen some interesting proposals on Hubble's future come crawling out of the woodwork from the private sector. Private investment and innovation in space technology is something NASA definitely needs to encourage rather than trample on in the years ahead.

AC.

hubble gone? (3, Insightful)

dkode (517172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134566)

I think it's ironic that whenever NASA gets something working correctly, they choose not to continue servicing a peice of equipment that has brought back some amazing images.

One of my most favorite hobbies is looking at images brought back from the hubble on a friday night since I have no life outside of /.!

Re:hubble gone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134806)

I don't think the images you look at on a Friday night come from Hubble.

Does Hubble fight terrorism? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134577)

No? Well, then why should NASA.gov spend any money on it?

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134618)

In these hard times there are more important things NASA can do. Like for (inter-)national security.

I'm a proud citizen of a free country (USA) and I can't believe that money is still wasted on things like Hubble when the world needs our help and our united military forces and our military expertise.

MOD PARENT DOWN - TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134759)

pfft.

More Free Press Lego Style (3, Interesting)

BoldAC (735721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134585)

Legos decided to get free press by saying they were going to stop creating Mindstorm legos. This got a lot of people up-in-arms and they started spilling the wonders of Mindstorm everywhere. Then lego states that they have decided not to stop making them. What free advertising!

I feel that NASA has used the same technique here. The general population supports NASA but it's hard to get the people to publically stand for NASA's support. By saying that they are scrapping the Hubble, they found a way to stimulate the public into lobbying for the program.

Way to go NASA! Marketing brillance!

AC

Public support Quotes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134623)

The decision prompted letters from Mikulski and a joint letter from all members of Congress from Maryland, from where the orbiting platform is operated. Hubble's fate has also become a cause for amateur and professional astronomers worldwide.

E-mails have poured in to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which coordinates the use of Hubble's instruments.

"It's been overwhelming. My e-mail is overflowing," said Steve Beckwith, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

"Every day, we've had offers of ideas, political support and even money. Every day, I get people who want to know how they can contribute to keeping Hubble alive."

Web pages have also been set up dedicated to saving the floating space telescope.

Re:More Free Press Lego Style (1)

shuz (706678) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134718)

Actually this is a good point, wether or not it was NASA's intention is debateable. Personally I have no problem lobbying for NASA and any other high tech goverment agencies.

Re:More Free Press Lego Style (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134998)

This would be a great joint-marketing opportunity:

Mindstorm Hubble

You could build it, and then see what happens when you bring it out of high orbit from the top bunk bed.

Hubble refitted for new use (4, Funny)

Pragmatix (688158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134586)

Scientists at NASA have decided to keep the aging Hubble Telescope around for a little while longer. In a joint marketing effort with 'Booble', the telescope will be turned around to face the earth and used in the serious business of finding more content for the upstart pr0n search engine. One NASA Scientist has been quoted saying, "Before this opportunity we searched through space for heavenly bodies. Is it not HIGH time we search for heavenly bodies at home?"

This could have been "planned", you know (4, Interesting)

Eccles (932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134595)

It's possible that some of the decision makers at NASA may have expected (or at least hoped for) this sort of reaction. If you want to boost your funding, propose cutting an expensive but popular program, in the hopes that you'll get an outcry and support for budget increases.

(I'm not complaining if this was intentional, mind you; I'm just congratulating them on their clever strategy if it was.)

How much would keeping the Hubble active cost compared to some of the proposed massively powerful earthbound scopes, anyway? Given the choice, I'd probably go for buying the OWL or the like rather than the Hubble if the costs are similar.

Is repairing the Hubble worth 5 astronaut's lives? (4, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134601)

NASA was planning only Space Station compatible orbits as one of the safety mechanisms for the shuttles. The Hubble is in a very different orbit, with inadequate fuel to reach the Space Station in case of trouble.
On the other hand, the Hubbe is arguably the most successful astronomical project ever conducted and NASAs second most successful project after the moon landing.

Re:Is repairing the Hubble worth 5 astronaut's liv (5, Insightful)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134746)

YES!! YES!!!

The answer had always better be YES when it comes to scientific research and exploration. If the answer was NO, we'd still think the world was flat, if we'd even exist at all.

Let the astronauts decide that (1)

grouse (89280) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134879)

They know the risks. Most of the active astronauts would jump at the chance to go on another Hubble mission.

Re:Let the astronauts decide that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8135039)

Sure, astronauts are brave, but they're not the only ones who need to be. Is the US taxpayer brave enough to risk another hideously expensive space vehicle on this? And is the NASA bureaucracy brave enough to gamble with their own political futures and, quite possibly, the future of the US manned spaceflight program?

His Unique Perspective (3, Funny)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134612)

This guy is military - somebody quick, write up a proposal on how Hubble can be adapted to function as an orbital death laser.

Re:His Unique Perspective (1)

Naffer (720686) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134778)

"Ion Cannon Ready" - EVA

Re:His Unique Perspective (1)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134810)

There was a Cowboy Bebop episode on Cartoon Network (Adult Swim) a few nights ago about some weather satellite using its laser cannons to draw birds, animals, etc into the Earth....

It's political. (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134627)

If they want more funding, NASA can't afford to *look* like wasters.

More information in the press (3, Interesting)

nphillips (321320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134671)

Here are a coulpe links to articles:

From today's NY Times:
[nytimes.com]
NASA Chief Affirms Stand on Canceling Hubble Mission

Also,
O'Keefe has sent a second letter (dated Jan. 28) [skyandtelescope.com] to Senator Mikulski.

We have plenty of time to save the telescope. (4, Insightful)

shuz (706678) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134678)

The earliest time that the telescope would fall to earth was 2007 correct? That means were have at least 3 years to build, test, and launch a mission to save it. I believe the science community at large would agree with me that this telescope will not go down without a serious fight. On a slight side note. I have noticed that tech issues, other then cs outsourcing to india, have not been discussed much in the US's presidential races so far. Personally I am upset that politicians think that welfare, tax reform, and social security are more important then the advancement of our society. Along with making our voices heard for the Hubble we as a scientific and technical community need to let our voices be heard that all our issues are just as, if not more, important then the common problems that face our society.

Advice (4, Insightful)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134705)

Adm. Hal Gehman would do well to think of this in military terms: do you really want to give up your best intelligence-gathering source based on the promise from the government that the funds will be available for a new one three years after you give it up?

As a former intel geek myself, I'd say the answer is a resounding "no"... Pay the extra money to keep my current source while you build and deploy a new one for me to use.

NASA is weak (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134724)

One minute a multi-billion dollar project is cancelled, the next it's not.

Makes me wonder exactly how seriously the consider ANY decision they make.

ESA has something to say ? (3, Informative)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134756)

Well, IIRC, ESA participated in the financing of Hubble [aerospace-technology.com] . I think it wasn't a lot of money but still, does ESA have something to say about the future of Hubble ?

Re:ESA has something to say ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134820)

If it doesnt then the ESA should never fund with NASA again, let NASA rot.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134844)

It goes a little something like this....

Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease ooohprettypleasewithsugarontop!! Please. Come on....*stomps in a petulent and frustrated manner* I'll never ask for anything again. PLLLleeaaase!? *drops to the floor in true melodramatic fashion, makes a small nearly inaudiable whining sound and goes limp when someone tries to pick them up*

Re:ESA has something to say ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8134962)

I'm sure NASA is talking to ESA, but you have to consider that by 2007 Hubble will already be past its expiration date. (The mission was originally planned to last 15 years, ending in 2005.) If NASA hangs it up after that, what can ESA say? They got what they paid for.

Ditch Hubble and build another one (4, Interesting)

photonic (584757) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134797)

Although I am probably a bigger space freak than most of you and really like what Hubble did, I can imagine some scenarios that would favor ditching Hubble. Why not skip all future Shuttle missions (skipped anyhow for safety reasons) and possibly also the booster add-on that was discussed recently. Imagine how much you can build with that money using modern technology. Remember, Hubble was designed in the seventies, built in the eighties and then left to rot for some years in a cleanroom. It has one big heavy mirror and was designed to be transported and serviced by the shuttle. Note that a typical shuttle launch costs > 600M$. A remote controlled rocket pack that attaches to Hubble wouldn't be cheap either.

Now think what you could build with that money in todays technology. I would suggest reusing some of the detectors designed for the next service mission. Use a modern light-weight mirror. No options for repear in space, just launch and forget. If it blows up, build another one. Mightbe be really modest in your goals, don't go for a design that is 10 times better than hubble, but try to equal it with a mirror of 1.5 - 2 meter. I don't know the exact number, but i believe SIRTF [caltech.edu] was built for something between 0.5 and 1B$. I would guess this could be done for less than 1B$ within 3 years to close the gap till NGST [nasa.gov] is built.

Why don't they just Attach... (1, Interesting)

Steamhead (714353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134816)

... it to the space station, that way they could work on it, share fuel, be able to command it better, etc...

Hubble Hubble Boil and Trouble (5, Informative)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134895)

A few quick notes on Hubble and NASA:

If Hubble is going to come home on its own around 2007, that does not mean we have 3 years to make a decision. With every orbit Hubble gets a tiny bit closer to Earth. It isn't going to take a left turn in 3 years and suddenly be on collision course. We need to do something in the next year or so before the orbit decays to the point that a boost won't move it high enough. That and this is mostly about repair and replacement parts as previously stated - which brings me to:

There was a Hubble plan. NASA has had a plan all along to successfully and responsibly keep Hubble going. Obviously, some unexpected and tragic events have changed that plan.

However, U.S. folks posting with a gripe about NASA's bad planning with Hubble and the International Space Station need to re-direct their energies and complain to their congresspeople - they are the ones holding the purse strings, and they are the ones who cut the Hab module for the ISS. Each of us share the burden of what "popular opinion" is, and that is the only thing we can do about keeping plans on track.

Kulakovich

Does it matter? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134911)

I think it's kinda funny that NASA no longer considers Hubble a Project, Program, or even equipment, but that it's simply referred to as MATTER....

I like the hubble project (1)

tr0llb4rt0 (742153) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134944)

and would like to see it extended for as long as possible.

Space Optical Interferometry seems a better option to spend the cash on.

http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/SIM/sim_index.ht ml

Lower maintenance and deliverable via disposable launch systems. One unit fails just fire up a replacement.

Sell it on eBay (1)

tropicflite (319208) | more than 10 years ago | (#8134983)

It's gotta be worth a couple bucks to someone!

Or, speed up work on the James Webb telescope. (1)

Thag (8436) | more than 10 years ago | (#8135019)

Which will replace Hubble anyway, is more capable, and doesn't need a shuttle launch.

If you're going to go to the expense of a space launch, why not launch a nice new telescope instead of trying to fix up the Hubble, which at this point is a beater anyway.

Jon Acheson

Are Hubble pictures undoctored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8135058)

I've always been skeptical of the Star Trek images that get released...can someone confirm whether or not these are true photoimages or do they get doctored up based on what they think the things look like.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>