Tuesday, May 15, 2007

About That Hubble Servicing Mission ...

A story in Aviation Week, floats an apparent trial balloon about the fate of the Hubble. The next Hubble servicing mission might be the last one.
"Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute that manages use of the Hubble, told a Capitol Hill breakfast May 11 that one more servicing mission may be all scientists will want to give Hubble. 'This telescope is 17 years old,' he told a session organized by the Maryland Space Business Roundtable and the California Space Authority. 'It's done an amazing job. But there are other great things we need to do.'" (Here.)
I've advocated scrapping the Hubble for over two years now. (Here.) Rather than spending the money, time, and energy trying to keep Hubble going past its "use by" date, we should have been focused on building a replacement. (Here.) But space scientists pushed back hard when plans surfaced to scrap Hubble. The telescope is their baby and they weren't going to let it be abandoned. It will be interesting to see how high this trial balloon flies before space scientists begin to take aim.

But as NASA's Colleen Hartman aptly puts it in the Aviation Week story, "'At some point you are going to come the point where getting a new car is the right thing to do.'" Makes perfect sense to me. (Here.)

-tdr

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