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.