Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hubble Telescope

One of the great tools to realize more knowledge about our universe might be coming back to full performance, and beyond.

An excerpt.

Signs Promising for Hubble Telescope
By SETH BORENSTEIN and MIKE SCHNEIDER, The Associated Press Oct 27, 2006

WASHINGTON - Signs are promising for a repair of the aging but popular Hubble Space Telescope, once thought doomed because of worries over astronaut safety. NASA set plans for a big announcement Tuesday after top officials met for three hours Friday to consider the value and risks of sending astronauts to repair the Hubble, extending its life for several more years.

The decision rests with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who hasn't yet made up his mind, NASA spokesman Dean Acosta said Friday in an e-mail.

However, the space agency sent out a press release about a gala announcement ceremony for Tuesday at the Goddard Space Center in suburban Washington, which helps oversee the 16-year-old space telescope.

The NASA press release said the ceremony includes a "news conference with the astronauts who would carry out the mission" - if the agency decides to go ahead with a shuttle flight to rehab the telescope.

And Griffin has previously said, "If we can do it safely, we want to do it."

Griffin worked on Hubble earlier in his career and recently described it as "one of the great scientific instruments of all time."

Another good sign for fans of the space telescope is that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., one of Capitol Hill's most prominent supporters of saving it, will join Griffin at Goddard, her office said.