Hubble Hit by Instrument Failure

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zavvy

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<b>Hubble Hit by Instrument Failure</b><br /><br />http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3545130.stm<br /><br />One of the four instruments on board the Hubble Space Telescope has stopped working, US space agency Nasa has said. <br /><br />The STIS, or Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, was installed during the second Hubble servicing mission in 1997 and was designed to work for five years <br /><br />It was used to investigate black holes, to discover dim stars that reveal clues to the age of the Universe and study the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet. <br /><br />Engineers are currently trying to track down the source of the problem. <br /><br />Nasa has convened an Anomaly Review Board to determine whether the failed instrument is recoverable. <br /><br />The STIS separates light from celestial objects into its component colours. This provides astronomers with data on the temperature, composition, density and motion of these objects. <br /><br />Power problem <br /><br />The instrument stopped working on 3 August and went into what Nasa officials call a suspended mode. Nasa said it had met or exceeded all its scientific requirements. <br /><br />Mission managers think the problem could be due to a malfunction in a power converter. <br /><br />The STIS accounts for about 30% of Hubble's observing time. <br /><br />A new safety regime brought in for space shuttle flights following the Columbia disaster ruled out any further missions to service Hubble. <br /><br />Despite recent suggestions made by an influential panel of researchers that the US space agency keep its options open over manned servicing missions, Nasa chief Sean O'Keefe has given no indication that he will change his mind. <br /><br />However, Nasa has asked for proposals regarding the feasibility of a robotic servicing mission, which could launch in 2007. <br /><br />Hubble's other instruments - the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spe
 
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petepan

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<font color="yellow">The only robotic mission to Hubble will be to de-orbit the Hubble. </font><br /><br /><br />I think this will be the biggest shame of all. <br /><br />Isn't another space scope slotted for launch in a few years? (James Web scope??). Surely it would be better to have two scopes in service. With so much competition for viewing time, another scope would be a bonus.<br /><br />Just my 2 cents worth.<br /><br />
 
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nacnud

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Might it not be cheeper to build another hubble class telescope than try to fix the one already up there, especial as a new telescope could target those areas where the James Webb telescope is lacking, ie in the UV spectrum.
 
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thalion

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^<br />It might be. But in terms of raw aperture Hubble is tops, and it's more versatile than the other telescopes we have up there currently; for instance, Hubble's Fine Guidance Sensor has recently been used for extremely accurate astrometry and parallax measurements, the kind of work that other space telescopes won't get to sharpen their teeth on for at least another 5-10 years. <br /><br />Along with the fact that already have the equipment needed to repair it pushes me towards the old belief that a bird in the cage is worth two in the bush. But, I know there are many here who would disagree. <br /><br />re robot repair:<br />Though I'm hopeful, I too think that robotic repair will not pan out; that kind of capability is some years away. What a waste!
 
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zavvy

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SG...<br /><br /><font color="yellow">The only robotic mission to Hubble will be to de-orbit the Hubble. </font><br /><br />I believe you, but it's still sad to hear ... <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" />
 
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redracer02

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I used to be of the opinion that we should save the hubble. But now, I'm not so sure. It's old, better things are coming along. Yes it would be nice to put it in a museum, but that would cost a lot of money.<br /><br />I think we should use it a few more years and then when the time comes, let it go down in a blaze of glory.
 
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