Astronauts should build telescope in space

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DarkenedOne

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Personally I do not think NASA has really taken advantage of the new capabilities gained by building the ISS. In building the ISS we have proved that objects can be constructed in space.

The astronomy community would like to put larger telescopes in space to take advantage of the conditions there. However the limitations of current rockets presents them with a problem. That problem is that while modern rockets have the lift capacity to carry larger telescopes they simply do not have fairing large enough to accommodate the large mirrors. A larger mirror means more light is collected thus increasing the power of the telescope.

What NASA needs to do is simply build a large telescope in orbit with similar techniques that were used to construct the ISS. Building telescopes in space would allow for telescopes to be built that are even larger than the ones here on earth because telescopes in space do not have to worry about weight causing deforms in shape.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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That sounds like a really novel idea. I think it would be better to do it this way. We could probably build much larger telescopes if we send them up in parts and have astronauts put them together.
 
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kk434

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Great idea, launch it piece by piece and let the ISS crew put it together. In zero G the large telescope can be wery light and weak.
 
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scottb50

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kk434":13ndj11j said:
Great idea, launch it piece by piece and let the ISS crew put it together. In zero G the large telescope can be wery light and weak.
It could also be done like the large array in New Mexico, multiple sensors focused on one place. Launch four or five on a Delta or Falcon, the more the better.
 
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Polishguy

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scottb50":m91go2du said:
It could also be done like the large array in New Mexico, multiple sensors focused on one place. Launch four or five on a Delta or Falcon, the more the better.
I think this is a better idea. Orbital construction just isn't precise enough to build a proper telescope. Remember Hubble? A 1.3 mm flaw crippled the telescope and made it necessary to install corrective optics. When working in microgravity, in a bulky pressure suit, there is more chance of error. Building something like the large array in New Mexico is easier and less prone to failure.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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Polishguy":15k6ord9 said:
scottb50":15k6ord9 said:
It could also be done like the large array in New Mexico, multiple sensors focused on one place. Launch four or five on a Delta or Falcon, the more the better.
I think this is a better idea. Orbital construction just isn't precise enough to build a proper telescope. Remember Hubble? A 1.3 mm flaw crippled the telescope and made it necessary to install corrective optics. When working in microgravity, in a bulky pressure suit, there is more chance of error. Building something like the large array in New Mexico is easier and less prone to failure.
Hubble wasn't the astronauts' fault, it was the engineers'. Hubble is a perfect example of why astronauts should build large telescopes in space. After a few servicing spacewalks Hubble was fine and was taking astounding pictures. Imagine if we launched a massive telescope up in 5 different parts and had it built in space, the possibiliites would be great.
 
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Polishguy

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Yuri_Armstrong":22htau1m said:
Hubble wasn't the astronauts' fault, it was the engineers'. Hubble is a perfect example of why astronauts should build large telescopes in space. After a few servicing spacewalks Hubble was fine and was taking astounding pictures. Imagine if we launched a massive telescope up in 5 different parts and had it built in space, the possibiliites would be great.
I'm not accusing the astronauts of anything. I'm just pointing out the biggest problem with building optical equipment in space. Engineers on earth had a difficult time getting a mirror so precise. The width of the mirror is the limiting factor of the size of the telescope, and assembling a mirror in space is simply too precise an operation to trust to astronauts. And if you can lift the mirror in one piece, you may as well build a telescope around it and launch it on your wide rocket.
 
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Yuri_Armstrong

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Polishguy":30kedvfn said:
I'm not accusing the astronauts of anything. I'm just pointing out the biggest problem with building optical equipment in space. Engineers on earth had a difficult time getting a mirror so precise. The width of the mirror is the limiting factor of the size of the telescope, and assembling a mirror in space is simply too precise an operation to trust to astronauts. And if you can lift the mirror in one piece, you may as well build a telescope around it and launch it on your wide rocket.
Yeah, but you could get a bigger and better telescope if its assembled in space. We got the ISS together, I'm sure they could handle a telescope as well.
 
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raptorborealis

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Yuri_Armstrong":1x99im97 said:
Polishguy":1x99im97 said:
I'm not accusing the astronauts of anything. I'm just pointing out the biggest problem with building optical equipment in space. Engineers on earth had a difficult time getting a mirror so precise. The width of the mirror is the limiting factor of the size of the telescope, and assembling a mirror in space is simply too precise an operation to trust to astronauts. And if you can lift the mirror in one piece, you may as well build a telescope around it and launch it on your wide rocket.
Yeah, but you could get a bigger and better telescope if its assembled in space. We got the ISS together, I'm sure they could handle a telescope as well.
If you want to dedicate 100% of Nasa's budget for the next 100 years to building a telescope in space, then lobby your congressman. They can use the Shuttle at a billion dollars a pop...maintain the ISS st 'x' billions a year for the telescope builders to live on ....actually better make it 200 years.


Much more logical and infinitely cheaper to build the telescope on Earth...launch it into orbit and have most of Nasa's budget left for other stuff.
 
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