Feeds

AAS: astronauts not robots should fix Hubble

Humans 1, 'droids 0

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has added its voice to calls for a manned mission to carry out essential maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope. The AAS endorsed the National Research Council's recommendation that the telescope be serviced by astronauts using the Space Shuttle rather than NASA's suggested robotic mission.

The three main recommendations of the NRC's report are that NASA should commit to the servicing mission; that the mission should be carried out on Shuttle and that a robotic mission should only be considered to "de-orbit" the telescope at the end of its life. This, the NRC says, will allow "time for the appropriate development of the necessary robotic technology".

Dr. Robert Kirshner of Harvard University, president of the AAS, said that Hubble was "one of the best things NASA has ever done". He forecast that the NRC's recommendation - that a manned service mission is the least risky option - would be accepted by NASA and congress.

Service Mission Four - or SM4, as it's known - will include repairs to Hubble's gyroscopes and batteries. These would extend the life of the 'scope to 2013. SM4 will also see the installation of a new wide-field camera to make observations in the infrared, ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, and a spectrograph tuned to faint UV light in ordet to seek out traces gas from the early universe.

However, since the Columbia Shuttle disaster, NASA's chief administrator, Sean O'Keefe, has been adamant that the 'flying brickyard' would only be used for flights to the International Space Station. He proposes sending a robotic mission to repair the telescope, but there are concerns that the technology will not be ready in time to save Hubble. ®

Related stories

Deep Impact en route to Tempel 1
Extra-solar planet snapped by galactic paparazzi
Scientists watch matter fall into black hole
Work begins on Hubble's replacement

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.