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03/02/2004 Entry: "When good science gets fucked"

"By all accounts the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most productive scientific instruments in history. Orbiting high above the distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere, it has peered far out into space and back toward the beginnings of time, producing images of startling clarity. It has detected extremely faint objects that can't be seen from the Earth, calibrated the age and expansion rate of the universe, detected supermassive black holes in the cores of galaxies and generally helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe. A distinguished panel of astronomers judged that Hubble 'has arguably had a greater impact on astronomy than any instrument since the original astronomical telescope of Galileo.'

"Yet now, just as Hubble was scheduled for a major rejuvenation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has consigned it to slow death. The agency has canceled a planned servicing mission that would have upgraded Hubble's instruments and extended its life past the end of the decade, making it likely that the telescope will run out of battery power and functioning gyroscopes by about 2007. Congress needs to prevent the premature loss of this valuable instrument."
Premature Death for the Hubble, NY Times Op Ed, February 29, 2004

 

 

 

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