Feeds

NASA seeks Hubble robot rescue input

Suggestions on a postcard by 16 July

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

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

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.