Skip to comments.Major instrument aboard Hubble telescope may be dead
Posted on 08/07/2004 5:39:39 PM PDT by Dog Gone
One of four science instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope has apparently failed and engineers are trying to determine whether it can be fixed.
One of the telescope's spectographs - specifically the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) - provides spectra and images at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths. It was installed in 1997 during the second servicing mission by space shuttle astronauts.
The STIS - which went into "suspended mode" Tuesday - was designed to operate for only five years and has met or exceeded all its scientific requirements, NASA officials said in a written statement. It had not been scheduled for replacement or upgrade as part of any future servicing mission.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported that preliminary findings indicate a problem with the +5V DC-DC power converter on Side 2, which supplies power to the mechanism's electronics. STIS suffered a similar electrical malfunction in 2001 that rendered Side 1 inoperable.
A report from Goddard Spaceflight Center says, "... it is now believed that STISs mechanism functions are inoperable and unrecoverable."
NASA has convened an Anomaly Review Board to investigate the problem.
In the current observing cycle, STIS accounts for about 30 percent of all Hubble scientific observation programs. The instrument had enabled astronomers to search for massive black holes and study star formation, planets, nebulae, galaxies and other objects in fine detail.
Among the major scientific achievements made by scientists using STIS were:
Independent confirmation of the age of the universe by finding the coolest and hence oldest white dwarf stars that exist in our galaxy.
Conducted an efficient census of galaxies to catalog supermassive black holes.
The fraction of galaxies that prove to contain a central massive black hole has proven to be surprisingly large.
Made the first-ever measurements of the chemical composition of the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet.
Saw the magnetic "footprints" of the Jovian satellites in Jupiter aurora, and made clear images of Saturn's aurora.
Studied the dynamics of circumstellar disks, the region around young stars where planets may form.
Found the first evidence of the high-speed collision of gas in the recent supernova remnant SN1987A
STIS was developed jointly with Ball Aerospace under the direction of principal investigator Dr. Bruce E. Woodgate of the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Hubble's other instruments, the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2 are all operating normally, NASA said.
Additional information about STIS is available on the Internet at the Hubble Project Servicing Mission 2 Web page.
RIP STIS :(
Build another Hubble, and send it up on an unmanned rocket.
Old Man Hubble has been counted out before.
And test the optics this time :)
No we will send humans to send a new hubble in space. Oh well.
The Hubble is already past its mission lifetime. It is time to bring it down. Don't put more resources into it, but if there are resources available, let's get with the new program.
The writer must believe in evolution. For an instrument to die it first had to be living. What did it evolve from and was there a god to spark its life and where will it go now that it is dead?
The James Webb Space Telescope will replace the Hubble in about five years. It would be nice if Hubble could last until then, but it's not going to happen, especially with the shuttle out of commission.
Halliburton snuck up there in their oil-powered rocket and threw hammers at it on purpose....giggling.
If they could install it in space once, they can replace it.
It's stupid to let hubble die, just because they want to pursue some other projects. Do Both.
Some of the large aperture adaptive optics telescopes are in the same resolution range as the Hubble, so we can get by for a while. There are several other telescopes in orbit as well that operate in different wavelengths. Besides that, there is already more data from the Hubble than astronomers can analyze in a century, and in fact the data is available, some of it anyway, for anyone, astronomer or whoever, to analyze free for the download. Let's use the resources to work on the new program, robotics, back to the moon, that kind of thing.
At some point, you just trade the sucker in for a new vehicle.
Probably the same place my dead cars go.
Yup, I thing the same thing when those devil worshiper's say their cell phone died or their computer died. I only hope that they meet Satan when they die.
Its evolution can be traced back through the development of the integrated circuit, the mounting of transistors, diodes, resistors, etc. on printed circuit boards, the vacuum tube, an old IBM punch card machine and seems to have roots in the chineese abacus. An electrical engineer created it and gave it life, and there are scientists around the complex who daily worship the feats of that engineer, leaving daily gifts at his workbench, err, alter. If the dead corpse is ever retrieved, it will be cut up into relics, encapsulated in plastic and distributed around the offices of bureaucrats with whom the program wishes to curry favor.
BTW I have always wondered, when one wishes to curry favor, what spices does one use. Is it a traditional very spicy southern Indian dish, or somewhat milder coming from the more Northern regions.
And name it Hubble II, do NOT take Edwin Hubble's name off it.
The problem is that were not ready to trade it in with anything. We should send up a shuttle to fix it but we are to scared to do so. If we let Hubble go we wont have anything ready to put into its place for many years.
Who cares if the original mission lifetime was conservative.
If it's like a toyota and everything is going wear out at once, so there's no point in replacing the alternator because the engine and transmission are weeks away from failure too, then I agree with you.
But if it's like a 59 Chevy and the tires are old but the engines still purring, then don't dump it. Give it to the kids and let them play with it. It's not like it's learned everything it can learn, and we need a new bigger scope to make advances. I'm not saying don't build a bigger scope, but the cost of maintaining and continuing to use this one has got to be relatively small at this stage.
Ouch! Isn't it a bit much to confuse common (albeit inaccurate) phraseology with satanic theology? It is common to describe computer failure as a crash when no matter-to-matter impact has occurred; as blowing up when no explosion has occurred; or as going down in flames when no combustion has occurred. The English language would be dull indeed if every phrase had to be 100% technically and grammatically correct.
Or am I failing to see that your tongue is in your cheek?
No point in throwing away a slightly used but still functioning space telescope: sell it on E-bay to the highest bidder.
Now lets see, I was responding to someone who considers calling a satellite failure, a death, to be an affirmation of evolution.
Yup, I'll second that. Hubble has paid us tremendous dividends, but it was never intended to last forever. In fact IIRC, the main batteries cannot be service, cannot be swapped out, and only have a few more years of service left in them at most. After that, Hubble's kaput no matter what. End of story. (Though I sure would like to have the optics for my backyard observatory!)
That damn Windows 95.
It is $1.5 billion baseline for each repair mission. Using the car analogy, at some point the monthly repair is more than payments on a new one.
Damn! First Rick James and now this. What a crazy week.
Probably the same place my dead cars go.
That Space Telescope is gonna look awful silly sitting on cinder blocks in your front yard. ;-p
I have always wondered, when one wishes to curry favor, what spices does one use?
Sugar and anise
Well a $1.5 billion service call is a lot of money, but how much does a new one cost? I still suspect we are using a flat tire as an excuse to buy a new one, when it makes sense to fix the flat tire and build a betterone. Then give the working Hubble to the kids, when our better version is ready.