View Full Version : Is the Hubble Space Telescope done for?

Sep 30, 2008, 12:19 PM

The Hubble Space Telescope has been a fantastic machine and I would hate to see it left to die. There are other projects in the works that will give even more insight into the nature of the universe but I would still hate to see this one left for dead.

I have an idea! Let some of the $700 BILLION go to patch this guy up?

Sep 30, 2008, 04:03 PM
It may be fixable. Don't really know yet.

Sep 30, 2008, 06:37 PM
Why bother? The Kepler is being launched early next year and sometime in 2010 the Terrestrial Planet Finder is launched.

Oct 06, 2008, 08:46 AM
It would be far more efficient to launch the next generation of space telescopes, and to try getting some out to much farther orbits around the sun so we can use them as a giant set of binoculars (aka synthetic aperture) which would probably let us directly see small planets around other stars. The cost for this is about the same as repairing Hubble and keeping it running.

However, until something happens in the space industry, you shouldn't count on that it WILL happen. It's somewhat likely that something will creep up and prevent Hubble's successor from reaching the skies, anything from budget cuts to rockets exploding, so until we actually get those missions launched and working, Hubble needs to stay operational.

On the gripping hand, who's to say we need a space telescope, that all this astronomy even matters right now? If a star goes nova on us, we won't see it coming. If we get hit by a gamma-burster, we won't see it coming. If we get an even better picture of the early universe, it doesn't matter. If we get a more accurate picture of when the universe will die, it won't matter. None of this stuff really matters right now, so why waste money and angst on it?

peter grimes
Oct 06, 2008, 10:29 AM
None of this stuff really matters right now, so why waste money and angst on it?

I understand this is all said with tongue firmly thrust in cheek; still i can't help but offer a response. ;)

This is the same argument that has been used in the christian world every time somebody proclaims that we're in the end times. Still, we're all here; despite dozens of these sorts of claims throughout history. So I'd say it's still worth the small cost. Granted, small is a relative term, but that's an argument for another day :)

Oct 06, 2008, 10:23 PM
Arguing that on the basis of "we're gonna die real soon" isn't what I had in mind. More like "a starfaring (or pre-starfaring) civilization may need this, but we're not there yet" was my stance. Until we have anything resembling the ability to go to other stars, what's there doesn't matter. We won't know Rigel Kentaurus is exploding until the deadly radiation wave hits us, and we won't be able to do anything even if we could predict it. And we can't colonize it before we colonize Mars or Callisto, so let's focus on that first.

Working on things to eliminate the Apollo threat is useful, so that someday, if we develop a real hyper drive, we'll be around to try it. We've got plenty of planets and moons here we can spread out to in the near future, let's figure out how to do that. What practical use is there for knowing how the universe formed? It's been waiting for us for 14 billion years, I think it can wait a few more. By then we'll have stupid-powerful computational resources to aid the discovery and simulation process.

Not saying I don't enjoy reading about this stuff, or that I don't wanna know it myself, or even research it myself (dream job?!?!), just proposing that there are better ways to spend our very limited space-dollars right now, and those ways are being ignored. The Apollo problem is a clear and present danger for the next 30 years.

Oct 10, 2008, 07:45 PM
Maybe Google will buy it?