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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 15

Re: A New Prescription for Hubble

From: Mark LeCuyer <randydan@wavetech.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 12:58:44 -0500
Fwd Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 14:56:53 -0400
Subject: Re: A New Prescription for Hubble


Source: Popular Science
A New Prescription for Hubble
by Arthur Fisher

The Hubble Space Telescope was plagued by fuzzy vision when it was
first launched in April 1990, but it was fixed in a daring manned
rescue mission to install corrective optics-"eyeglasses"-for its
myopic instruments. Ever since, it has returned dazzling pictures
that have provided new insights into the workings of the universe.
Now, Hubble is about to undergo another service visit, one intended
to enhance the $3 billion telescope's already stellar performance by
a factor of 100.

Scheduled for February 13, the mission-managed by NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Institute-will bring a seven-astronaut space-shuttle
crew to a rendezvous with Hubble in orbit some 500 kilometers above
Earth. The astronauts will snatch Hubble with the shuttle's
manipulator arm and park it in the shuttle's bay. Then, they will
remove two of Hubble's astronomical instruments and replace them with
two unwieldy new instruments the size of telephone booths. One weighs
(on Earth) about 500 pounds, the other about 800 pounds, and both
have to be wrestled into Hubble's payload slots, which have
clearances of less than an inch.

Why mess with success? The new, state-of-the-art equipment will
enable Hubble to see objects and processes that have been beyond the
range of its original instruments, and will open new windows on the
universe. The two instruments that are being replaced are the Goddard
High Resolution Spectrograph and the Faint Object Spectrograph. (A
spectrograph separates light into the colors, or wavelengths of the
spectrum, that it contains.) The new instruments are the Space
Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and the Near-Infrared Camera
and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS).

STIS will allow astrophysicists to ferret out characteristics of
heavenly objects, including their motion, makeup, and temperature.
Scientists are particularly eager to use its detectors to penetrate
the haze of dust thought to surround hypothetical black holes at the
centers of galaxies. STIS was developed for Goddard's Laboratory for
Astronomy and Solar Physics by Ball Aerospace of Boulder, Colorado.

Because infrared light is not filtered by the dust that blocks
visible light, NICMOS will be able to peer farther back in time-that
is, to a greater distance-than the optical and ultraviolet light
instruments now functioning on Hubble. Scientists hope the new
instrument will help solve some of the conundrums of modern
cosmology, such as the origin of galaxies. NICMOS was developed by
the University of Arizona with Ball Aerospace and the Rockwell
Electro-Optical Center in Anaheim, California.

Another servicing mission-to replace a 1970s-vintage computer with a
new one, among other things-will take place in 1999. And NASA is
already working on plans for a next-generation space telescope to be
launched in 2005, when the Hubble mission is scheduled to end.

-----

From: Mark - Alien Astronomer
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shadowlands/6583