Monday, April 30, 2007

The ISS is nice, I suppose. But what do they even do up there on it? Do you know? I don't know. It's probably useful stuff. Learning more about long-term space habitation is always good.

The Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (image from NASA)

But what I do know is what the Hubble Telescope does: it gives us enormous amounts of information about the universe by showing us detailed visuals we otherwise wouldn't have. It helped is measure the Hubble constant much better, it taught us about black holes, galaxies, the early universe, future universal expansion, extrasolar planets, nearby planets and what happens when a comet crashes into a planet... Hundreds of important papers have been published based on images from Hubble Space Telescope.

Second to going to the Moon, this thing is probably NASA's greatest success, and that's pretty darn good. Did we go to the Moon once and then say 'Okay, that's all'? No, we went back again and again, because we were still learning new stuff. Eventually we stopped. The budget was shrinking, probably because it got to be old hat in the eyes of many Americans. The alternative would have been to kick it up a notch: build a base, head on to Mars, or, oh!, how about putting a big telescope on the surface of the Moon? No atmosphere there, eh? But, no. We let that die for the time being. Moved on to other things. Such as the Hubble Space Telescope.

That they want to let the telescope die isn't what bothers me. I can't even grok that bit of news. What irks me is that they haven't sent up an entire array of more powerful orbital telescopes appals me. It's time to kick the Hubble Space Telescope up a notch. It's still giving us good information, but it can only point in one direction at once, and there's a lot of stuff out there for us to study. Let's build some more telescopes and start looking around. (Can't afford it? We could stop so many things like the B-2 Spirit [2 100 000 000USD a pop])

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