Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

Zeletic and his team try to predict a possible accident. For example, they found that Hubble’s gyroscopes relied on slow decay and breakage of thin wires, and that three of its six gyroscopes failed. Without gyros, Hubble would not have noticed anything exactly. But in the last servicing mission, the astronauts replaced the gyros and improved the wires so that they could not decay, solving the problem.

Nevertheless, each new obstacle inevitably raises concerns about the aging telescope, which has contributed to many astronomical achievements, including reducing the age of the universe and discovering Pluto’s small moon. “I think it’s completely transformative,” said Adam Reese, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics on how the measurement of exploding stars or supernovae revealed the rapid expansion of the universe, a project that benefited from Hubble data. To date, the telescope has continued to receive at least five times more subscriptions, Reese said, which means astronomers have more than five times as many proposals for Hubble use as there is available telescope time.

The Space Telescope has also served as an educational tool and has aroused public interest in space science for generations. “Everyone knows Hubble,” said Jehan Carteltepe, an astronomer at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “It simply came to our notice then. People enjoy reading articles about what Hubble discovered, and they enjoy looking at pictures. I think Hubble has an immediate connection to human astronomy. “

Hubble’s latest hardware challenges come just over a month before his successor James Webb Space Telescope, Scheduled for launch into orbit. Like its iconic predecessor, the new telescope will collect a trove of spectacular images, although it is designed to further test wavelengths. Infrared range, It allows to penetrate the dusty part of the galaxy and the stellar nebula. Riess hopes it will be equally popular with astronomers and the general public.

Hubble easily surpassed its expected lifespan, and so did NASA Lunar X-ray Observatory, Which was launched in 1999 and is still in operation, although it was designed to last only five years. This is a good sign for the web, similarly planned for a lifetime of five years. Unlike Hubble, however, it will orbit far, making it inaccessible to astronauts. This means that if there is any problem, it has to be fixed from a distance.

But Hubble helped set the stage for his successor. For example, after Hubble was launched, engineers realized that its mirror was not properly curved, resulting in blurred images. Webb’s design allows engineers to remotely adjust the curvature if such an error occurs.

Astronomers have praised the hard work of Hubble’s engineers and operators. “Their dedication to saving the telescope from all its fits and mood swings is great. I am proud to support the scientists who are using the data, “said Julian Dalkanton, an astronomer at the University of Washington who has used Hubble frequently throughout his career, including mapping our galactic neighbor Andromeda. He, Carteltep, and other astronomers look forward to a time when both Hubble and Webb will be in the sky, observing together, especially as they learn different things from the telescope’s corresponding instrument and wavelength coverage.

Although Zeletic and his team do not yet know when Hubble will be back online, he hopes that all systems will eventually be restarted. “One day Hubble will die, just like any other spacecraft,” he said. “But hopefully it’s still a long way off.”

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