Feeds

NASA seeks Hubble robot rescue input

Suggestions on a postcard by 16 July

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

NASA has launched a feasibility study into a robotic servicing mission that could save Hubble from falling into a state of total disrepair. The primary goal of such a scheme would be to install a 'de-orbit' module on Hubble, effectively a way to crash it, safely, on Earth.

But NASA is hopeful that the robot it sends could repair some systems while it is there. Other tasks could include installing new batteries, gyros and possibly new science instruments that would effectively upgrade Hubble, and allow it to look even further into deep space.

Speaking at the American Astronomical Society Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, NASA's chief administrator, Sean O'Keefe, said that his goal was to maintain the Hubble as a productive scientific asset, even with the restrictions that have been in place since Columbia.

Hubble, he said, is a marvel: "Hubble is one of the most accomplished scientific instruments ever created. It has helped us confirm the existence of black holes, define the nature of quasars, more precisely measure the age of the universe, examine the birth and death of stars, detect the acceleration of the universal expansion rate, and even measure the components of the atmospheres of planets that orbit nearby stars."

Scheduled maintenence missions to Hubble were cancelled because of safety concerns raised by the Columbia Shuttle disaster, in which eight astronauts were lost. This means Hubble will gradually break down, and there will be no extra-atmosphereic telescope until the 2011 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

The space agency has invited propopsals for a solution to arrive no later than 16 July this year, as the servicing mission must be completed by the end of 2007. ®

Related stories

NASA moots robotic Hubble fix
Boffins baffled by suburban quasars
Universe very big: official

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.