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Major instrument aboard Hubble telescope may be dead
Houston Chronicle ^ | August 7, 2004

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 STIS’s 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.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: xplanets

1 posted on 08/07/2004 5:39:39 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone

RIP STIS :(


2 posted on 08/07/2004 5:41:30 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "The terrorists will be defeated, there can be no other option" - Colin Powell)
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To: Dog Gone

Build another Hubble, and send it up on an unmanned rocket.


3 posted on 08/07/2004 5:44:17 PM PDT by Moonman62
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To: Dog Gone

Old Man Hubble has been counted out before.


4 posted on 08/07/2004 5:45:18 PM PDT by battlegearboat (I'm reporting for duty)
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To: Moonman62
Build another Hubble, and send it up on an unmanned rocket.

And test the optics this time :)

5 posted on 08/07/2004 5:46:25 PM PDT by asgardshill ("I came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And I can't find my shoes")
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To: RightWhale; Brett66; xrp; gdc314; sionnsar; anymouse; RadioAstronomer; NonZeroSum; jimkress; ...

6 posted on 08/07/2004 5:48:38 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: Moonman62

No we will send humans to send a new hubble in space. Oh well.


7 posted on 08/07/2004 5:49:10 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: KevinDavis

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.


8 posted on 08/07/2004 5:55:19 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: RightWhale

I agree..


9 posted on 08/07/2004 5:57:18 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: Dog Gone

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?


10 posted on 08/07/2004 6:00:38 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: RightWhale

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.


11 posted on 08/07/2004 6:03:46 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
company i used to work for made the D-2 light source they use for calabration... glad it wasn't our lamp
12 posted on 08/07/2004 6:06:55 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist )
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Bush's fault!

Halliburton snuck up there in their oil-powered rocket and threw hammers at it on purpose....giggling.


13 posted on 08/07/2004 6:09:21 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (<a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">Hatriotism)
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To: Moonman62

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.


14 posted on 08/07/2004 6:11:10 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Dog Gone

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.


15 posted on 08/07/2004 6:12:04 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: RightWhale
I agree. Hubble was 1980s technology, launched in 1990 because of the Challenger disaster. It has done a stupendous job, even given all the setbacks during its mission.

At some point, you just trade the sucker in for a new vehicle.

16 posted on 08/07/2004 6:15:42 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: fish hawk
where will it go now that it is dead?

Probably the same place my dead cars go.

17 posted on 08/07/2004 6:21:52 PM PDT by VRWC_minion
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To: fish hawk
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?

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.

18 posted on 08/07/2004 6:27:50 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: fish hawk
What did it evolve from and was there a god to spark its life and where will it go now that it is dead?

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.

19 posted on 08/07/2004 6:30:28 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: Moonman62
Build another Hubble

And name it Hubble II, do NOT take Edwin Hubble's name off it.

20 posted on 08/07/2004 6:32:56 PM PDT by OXENinFLA
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To: Dog Gone
At some point, you just trade the sucker in for a new vehicle.

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.

21 posted on 08/07/2004 6:34:26 PM PDT by pepperhead (Kennedy's floats, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: RightWhale

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.


22 posted on 08/07/2004 6:38:22 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Doe Eyes
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.

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?

23 posted on 08/07/2004 6:40:20 PM PDT by night reader
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To: RightWhale
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.

No point in throwing away a slightly used but still functioning space telescope: sell it on E-bay to the highest bidder.

24 posted on 08/07/2004 6:50:34 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: night reader
Ouch! Isn't it a bit much to confuse common (albeit inaccurate) phraseology with satanic theology?

Now lets see, I was responding to someone who considers calling a satellite failure, a death, to be an affirmation of evolution.

25 posted on 08/07/2004 7:06:04 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: RightWhale
It is time to bring it down.

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!)

26 posted on 08/07/2004 7:22:11 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Dog Gone

That damn Windows 95.


27 posted on 08/07/2004 8:14:53 PM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestus globus, inflammare animos)
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To: DannyTN

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.


28 posted on 08/07/2004 8:21:29 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: Dog Gone

Damn! First Rick James and now this. What a crazy week.


29 posted on 08/07/2004 8:26:55 PM PDT by SamAdams76 (High tide has passed and is running out for John Kerry)
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To: VRWC_minion
where will it go now that it is dead?

****************

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

30 posted on 08/07/2004 8:29:39 PM PDT by Cloud William (The Second Amendment is the Statute of Liberty! - Col. Jeff Cooper)
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To: AndyJackson
Loved your post and to thank you, I will answer your question:
I have always wondered, when one wishes to curry favor, what spices does one use?

Sugar and anise

31 posted on 08/08/2004 3:52:30 AM PDT by snopercod (Nine out of the 10 recessions since World War II have occurred after a big run-up in oil prices.)
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To: RightWhale
"Using the car analogy, at some point the monthly repair is more than payments on a new one."

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.

32 posted on 08/08/2004 10:24:01 AM PDT by DannyTN
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