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Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-16, 10:49 PM
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe told engineers and scientists today that he has decided to cancel a planned shuttle mission in 2006 to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the most scientifically productive spacecraft ever launched.

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0401/16hubblesm4/

:cry:

Although I can understand the motivation...

Glom
2004-Jan-16, 10:51 PM
Treachery! :evil:

SSJPabs
2004-Jan-17, 12:05 AM
A few of us who have a blantantly obvious political interest in seeing Bush gone have been saying this for a week:

Because very little new money will be alotted, almost ALL other NASA projects will be frozen. If Bush wants to kill the space-agency and slow advances (much like with his decision on stem-cell research) then he's going about it the right way.

Rift
2004-Jan-17, 12:25 AM
While I still have mixed feelings about Bush's plan, I don't think you can lay all the blame of this at his feet.

The Columbia disaster, I'm sure, figured prominently in the making of this decision.

Sever
2004-Jan-17, 12:39 AM
Does this mean MESSENGER and JIMO might be canceled?

trebob
2004-Jan-17, 01:03 AM
I hate to sound unpatriotic, and this is a long shot... but... what about petitioning NASA to scrap the Bush space plan? I think The Bad Astronomer summed it up pretty good on the front page of the site with "Also, with the amount being spent in Iraq, the timing seems odd to announce such an expensive endeavor" and "But going to the Moon will cost many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars. Where will it come from?"

I'm not saying it should be scrapped indefinitely, but long enough to sort out the nations other matters first. There has to be a way to make Bush and NASA see this is a bad idea at a bad time.

Keep the Hubble. The moon and Mars will still be there. We can wait, atleast I know I can.

Anywho, just my 2 cents worth.

WHarris
2004-Jan-17, 02:07 AM
Does this mean MESSENGER and JIMO might be canceled?

Be rather pointless to cancel MESSANGER at this point. The spacecraft has already been built.

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 03:20 AM
There was much talk of this pending decision at the AAS meeting last week, with most people hoping that the preliminary indications they were receiving weren't true. But, alas it is. I am heartsick at this move and will forever link the name of George Bush to the death of one of the most productive telescopes ever produced. This shouldn't have to be a choice between Bush Rogers-style cowboy rides to Mars and trashing a telescope we've already spent a great deal of money on and gotten to to a productive state.

AS much as I want missions to Mars and the Moon, I also recognize the efficacy of NOT throwing babies out with the bathwater. At least the public should be made fully aware of the science sacrifice the community is being forced to make. And, when all is said and done and the war consumes more of our expenses, and Mars missions are cut, and JWST is scaled back or cancelled, the US and the world science community will have lost immeasurably, just so some frickin' cowboy could have his war AND his space wet dream...

Sorry... I'm just immeasurably sick over this, and not just because I wrote the book about HST. It's a huge loss...

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-17, 03:25 AM
So what's the big deal? The mission wasn't planned to fly until 2006 and they said it could fail tomorrow. Would you rather see a moonbase and several telescopes on it's surface or even manufactured there and sent into libration orbits? If we can find a low cost launcher then the odds will be high that more science telescopes will end up in orbit even sooner. Let's examine our priorities here. Maybe some of you astronomers want a steady paycheck and this may ruin that. I sympathize. But I would rather postpone or cancel a mission with the hope of doing something even better a little later. The Deep Field, the new Ultra Deep Field, and the future Super Ultra-Mega Whammy Really, Really Deep Field will not help us get humans into space in a big way. Have patience. If you can wait 80 days to make an exposure, you can wait a few years to get a new camera.

I've written about the Starving Children excuse to avoid space exploration... I never thought I'd see it turn into a Starving Astronomer excuse.

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 03:31 AM
If all you see is starving astronomers begging for a chance to get work, then I can't help you. The science that will be lost is tremendous...

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-17, 03:49 AM
If all you see is starving astronomers begging for a chance to get work, then I can't help you. The science that will be lost is tremendous...

How do you know it will be lost? It will just be postponed. Maybe a supernova will occur that Hubble might otherwise have imaged. That would be a great loss. But that is not predictable. Andromeda Galaxy will still be there when we get the new Telescope up and running. If it's not then we have bigger things to worry about.

Spacewriter, you just joined this board. Do you consider that time spent wondering aimlessly around the net lost? Or did you find something productive to do in the meantime? I'm glad you're here now and I hope you are too. Decommisioning the HST is a temporary setback to be sure. I'd love to be able to have my cake and eat it too. Let them [astronomers] eat cake, I say.

Sometimes we have to take a step backwards in order to take a step forwards. What if a low cost launcher could send two or more smaller disposable non-servicable telescopes into Libration orbits for VLBI imaging by 2008. Would that make up for the retirement of Hubble? Let's think of new ideas. Think of the new plan as a challenge, not an obstacle. Necessity is the mother of invention. Let's see some inventiveness, and not invectives.

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 03:56 AM
My understanding about this decision is that it has less to do with the new space exploration initiative, than with concerns about the safety of the Shuttle. The claim is that the Orbiter needs have the capability of docking with the ISS on all missions. Hubble maintenance missions would not allow the Orbiter to dock with the ISS if there was a problem.

With that being said, I consider Hubble to be the best thing that NASA has done in my lifetime. I remember the anticipation surrounding it when it was launched. The dissapointment when it didn't work right and the awe that the first clear pictures to come from it inspired.




I hate to sound unpatriotic, and this is a long shot... but... what about petitioning NASA to scrap the Bush space plan? I think The Bad Astronomer summed it up pretty good on the front page of the site with "Also, with the amount being spent in Iraq, the timing seems odd to announce such an expensive endeavor" and "But going to the Moon will cost many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars. Where will it come from?"

I'm not saying it should be scrapped indefinitely, but long enough to sort out the nations other matters first. There has to be a way to make Bush and NASA see this is a bad idea at a bad time.

Keep the Hubble. The moon and Mars will still be there. We can wait, atleast I know I can.

Anywho, just my 2 cents worth.

Regardless of what you think about the plan, you have to realize that NASA cannot simply decide not to do what it is told. The President has the authority to charge NASA with a mission and NASA has to figure out how to implement it. The day after the announcement Sean O'Keefe held a NASA wide town-hall meeting to discuss the implications of the new plan. There were a few question along the lines of what happens if NASA decides to go in a different direction and the answer was an emphatic, we are going to carry out our orders.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you do not have options. If you feel strongly about this, by all means contact your Senator and Representative and let them know how you feel. The President proposes the budget, but Congress has to approve it. At the risk of creeping into politics I will add that there is nothing unpatriotic about offering up a disenting opinion-what is unpatriotic is someone suggesting that as a citizen you should not disagree with the current administration (whoever it is)

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 04:38 AM
If all you see is starving astronomers begging for a chance to get work, then I can't help you. The science that will be lost is tremendous...

How do you know it will be lost? It will just be postponed. Maybe a supernova will occur that Hubble might otherwise have imaged. That would be a great loss. But that is not predictable. Andromeda Galaxy will still be there when we get the new Telescope up and running. If it's not then we have bigger things to worry about.

Spacewriter, you just joined this board. Do you consider that time spent wondering aimlessly around the net lost? Or did you find something productive to do in the meantime?



I beg your pardon. Who said I was lost? Not I.




I'm glad you're here now and I hope you are too. Decommisioning the HST is a temporary setback to be sure. I'd love to be able to have my cake and eat it too. Let them [astronomers] eat cake, I say.

Sometimes we have to take a step backwards in order to take a step forwards. What if a low cost launcher could send two or more smaller disposable non-servicable telescopes into Libration orbits for VLBI imaging by 2008. Would that make up for the retirement of Hubble? Let's think of new ideas. Think of the new plan as a challenge, not an obstacle. Necessity is the mother of invention. Let's see some inventiveness, and not invectives.

Excuse me. I do have a right to my feelings on this matter and don't care to be upbraided for expressing them. To be sure, I toned down my rhetoric considerably in my posting -- what I said verbally when I heard the news was NOT postable here. I speak as a long-time supporter of both manned and robotic exploration, so do not presume that I am FOR one and against the other.


AS it happens, I think that future telescope developments will be needed. I am solely questioning the timing and political maneuvering behind this particular move. At any other time, we'd be treated to a sober discussion of fiscal responsibility and prudence in spending our space money, but that is not the case this time. We're instead being told to choose between questionable missions for which technologies aren't in place and may never be and told at the same time we'll be sacrificing a working observatory to get these things we don't have and haven't got designed yet. And on top of that we're paying for a questionable war. The tail is wagging the dog here, and aside from the very valid issue of safety (which the NASA people are right to be concerned about) the science justification for these new missions is taking a secondary seat to saving Bush's *** as he contemplates cutting his losses (politically and financially) in Iraq.

I am no simple school child contemplating a lost toy, but am quite capable of seeing the big picture. Big steps require big ideas -- but any sensible person will NOT take a big step without considering what's already available and on the table to be used. And I'm not used to squandering working missions in order to salvage a politician's arse. I never will be and I don't have to like it.

Demigrog
2004-Jan-17, 06:56 AM
The costs of these Hubble maintenance missions are pretty high, and I'm not sure how big the loss of Hubble really is given the current technology of Earth based telescopes. I may be wrong, but hasn't interferometry and adaptive optics allowed ground based telescopes to surpass Hubble in many ways? There are probably a few instruments (IR maybe?) that cannot be matched from the ground. Anyone know of any particular aspect of Hubble that cannot be replaced with modern technology of ground based telescopes?

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-17, 07:01 AM
If all you see is starving astronomers begging for a chance to get work, then I can't help you. The science that will be lost is tremendous...

How do you know it will be lost? It will just be postponed. Maybe a supernova will occur that Hubble might otherwise have imaged. That would be a great loss. But that is not predictable. Andromeda Galaxy will still be there when we get the new Telescope up and running. If it's not then we have bigger things to worry about.

Spacewriter, you just joined this board. Do you consider that time spent wondering aimlessly around the net lost? Or did you find something productive to do in the meantime?



I beg your pardon. Who said I was lost? Not I.No, I was paralleling your statement about science being lost. I pointed out that observations are not lost, they are merely postponed. The parallel is that a deep space discovery that Hubble might make is like the discovery you made when you found this board, having known the BA prior, as stated in your introductory post.





I'm glad you're here now and I hope you are too. Decommisioning the HST is a temporary setback to be sure. I'd love to be able to have my cake and eat it too. Let them [astronomers] eat cake, I say.

Sometimes we have to take a step backwards in order to take a step forwards. What if a low cost launcher could send two or more smaller disposable non-servicable telescopes into Libration orbits for VLBI imaging by 2008. Would that make up for the retirement of Hubble? Let's think of new ideas. Think of the new plan as a challenge, not an obstacle. Necessity is the mother of invention. Let's see some inventiveness, and not invectives.

Excuse me. I do have a right to my feelings on this matter and don't care to be upbraided for expressing them. To be sure, I toned down my rhetoric considerably in my posting -- what I said verbally when I heard the news was NOT postable here. I speak as a long-time supporter of both manned and robotic exploration, so do not presume that I am FOR one and against the other.I was not singling you out. I was referring, in general, to many posters in this thread and other threads who have been venting frustration at the person of the president because his initiative has caused NASA to suggest a cutback in HST program. Per the article, it appears that NASA administration made the decision and that it was not a decree from the oval office. In other words I was trying to prevent a political discussion and avoid getting this thread locked and people banned. There is a long list of posters who are banned from this bulletin board for expressing their feelings improperly. I believe that our use of this forum is by the good graces of the BA and a privelage, not a right. I myself, have been reminded of this more than once. If I seemed to pick you out, it was not my intent.



AS it happens, I think that future telescope developments will be needed. I am solely questioning the timing and political maneuvering behind this particular move. At any other time, we'd be treated to a sober discussion of fiscal responsibility and prudence in spending our space money, but that is not the case this time. We're instead being told to choose between questionable missions for which technologies aren't in place and may never be and told at the same time we'll be sacrificing a working observatory to get these things we don't have and haven't got designed yet. And on top of that we're paying for a questionable war. The tail is wagging the dog here, and aside from the very valid issue of safety (which the NASA people are right to be concerned about) the science justification for these new missions is taking a secondary seat to saving Bush's [bad word deleted] as he contemplates cutting his losses (politically and financially) in Iraq.I don't make the rules about staying away from political discussions. But I have been in threads that, while non-argumentative, were political in nature and were locked for that reason only. But to answer the basic points, yes pure science may have to take a back seat to pure exploration. One has immediate implications for humanity, the other does not. A massive space program may inspire the population to support space science. While the Hubble Deep Field is inspiring to astronomers and many laypeople, it is not particularly inspiring to most common people... and it is their money, after all. A massive boost in the space program could give dividends in jobs and spin-off technology which is directly applicable to the lives of those common people who have already paid for it.



I am no simple school child contemplating a lost toy, but am quite capable of seeing the big picture. Big steps require big ideas -- but any sensible person will NOT take a big step without considering what's already available and on the table to be used. And I'm not used to squandering working missions in order to salvage a politician's arse. I never will be and I don't have to like it. Getting humanity into space will save everyone's rear, including politicians. Remember, the dinosaurs didn't have a space program. At least this politician is talking science and space. Consider the alternative. I, for one, have not seen anything leading to the assumption that the current administration does NOT have a plan in mind. I don't know what that plan may be and I accept the possibility that they may be full of hot air. Moreover, HST is not a working mission they would be sacrificing. It's a failing mission they could be salvaging. If HST were not expected to fail, it would not need servicing.

We need to take a step back. In military terms it's called regrouping or "soaking-off." In the past we sent men to the moon to plant a flag. This time we need to invade the moon. We need to occupy its landmass and exploit its resources. Maybe in the future they'll write a book called "The Rape of Luna" but it's what's got to be done. Then we need to invade Mars. I think that is bigger than HST and worth more than a few lost years of Hubble Imaging. In the distant future, when we are planning an invasion of a galaxy far, far away, the Hubble Deep Field may prove to be quaintly useful.

somerandomguy
2004-Jan-17, 08:54 AM
:o :)

::signs his name under JPax's::

Couldn't have said it better myself. :D

AKONI
2004-Jan-17, 11:23 AM
Wait a second... Wasn't NASA ALREADY planning to decommision the Hubble because of the new telescope being sent out? Isn't this old news?

Doesn't that also mean the fate of the Hubble was decided by NASA before Bush's Mars mission was even a thought since the development of this new telescope didn't just hit the drawing boards?


We need to take a step back. In military terms it's called regrouping or "soaking-off." In the past we sent men to the moon to plant a flag. This time we need to invade the moon. We need to occupy its landmass and exploit its resources. Maybe in the future they'll write a book called "The Rape of Luna" but it's what's got to be done. Then we need to invade Mars. I think that is bigger than HST and worth more than a few lost years of Hubble Imaging. In the distant future, when we are planning an invasion of a galaxy far, far away, the Hubble Deep Field may prove to be quaintly useful.

That was perfect.

jest
2004-Jan-17, 12:34 PM
Just an observation from Canada..

Really, what seems to be going on is Bush is attempting to engage in another whizzing contest which was cool back in the 60's space race but those were WAY different times. If we learned one thing from the space station, it's that multi-national collaborations seem to work rather well. Why can't a return to the Moon be the same? Bush seems to think otherwise. You can only wave your country's flag around so much before people turn their backs on you and do their own thing. I wouldn't be surprised if China eventually teams up with another couple countries, or Japan and the ESA, perhaps Russia as well. Who cares what nationality (or even gender) sets foot on the Moon again? Since when was science all about patriotism?

ToSeek
2004-Jan-17, 02:31 PM
Wait a second... Wasn't NASA ALREADY planning to decommision the Hubble because of the new telescope being sent out? Isn't this old news?



No. A servicing mission from the shuttle was in the works, designed to keep Hubble working at least through 2010 and probably longer. Now that mission has been canceled, and with the state of the Hubble's gyros, it's anyone's guess as to how much longer it will last. Odds are very much against its being able to continue to do science until its successor goes up.

weatherc
2004-Jan-17, 02:45 PM
I think people are reading waaaaaay too much politics into the decisions to end the missions of the HST and the Shuttle. Try to look at this from a more practical standpoint.

The Hubble was launched in 1990. It has been producing amazing images that have not only advanced our understanding of the Universe, but have also given people within and outside of the field of astronomy a newfound appreciation of the beauty of the Universe. As was mentioned earlier, the next Hubble service mission wasn't supposed to take place until 2006. If the Hubble lasts until then, this will mean that its mission will have lasted sixteen years. I would call that quite a success, and a job well done.

The Shuttle has always been a problem for NASA. While in many ways it is a great success story, the Shuttle (and its tempermental, fickle, and financially bottomless maintenance requirements) is the single largest expense that NASA has, drawing funds that might be used for actually advancing spaceflight into just keeping us in orbit. What if the money being burned year after year on the Shuttle could be put toward developing new heavy lift rockets, or research for better propulsion systems? I have read that a single launch of the Shuttle costs in the neighborhood of 500 million US dollars. How many better ways could anyone on this board, let alone the people at NASA, think of that this money could be spent? Combine this information with the safety record of the Shuttle and the years that it has spent out of commission due to catastrophic failure (and subsequent analysis and retrofitting), and cancelling the Shuttle is an idea whose time has come.

To sum up: The Hubble has served its purpose, and the Shuttle is a money pit and a dead end for spaceflight. It's time to change NASA's focus and move on to other things.

EDIT: Fixed the number of years the Hubble would be in use if it lasted until 2006. I never was good at math...

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 03:20 PM
In many senses I agree with Weatherc's statements. But consider this: the party of fiscal responsibility wants to junk a functioning telescope, and a pair of instruments that were supposed to go into it in the next mission (and which are partially if not wholly built), all so we can try to build some unproven technologies to get people to the Moon. Shouldn't we be trying to save money elsewhere to pay for what will prove to be a HUGE money pit? Say, how about NOT spending it on a quagmire in Iraq? Oh, silly me... this is just like Viet Nam all over again... we had a war AND a trip to the Moon. Is this the limit of Bush's Vision Thang?

Let's examine this a bit more.

The HST was planned to be brought back (or deorbited) sometime after the next servicing mission. That would, theoretically, be when JWST is about ready to be put in orbit. Great. But, we have a small problem with shuttles, so now we can't service HST. The govmint wants to attach small rockets to it to boost it DOWN to earth, preferably into a convenient ocean. That's a bit ahead of schedule, and if we can't have shuttles, then that's the way it is. But why not boost it UP a bit further until we DO have a capability of getting folks up to refurbish it? I don't know the costs involved, but if we're going to put people back in space, we're going to have to have an Earth-to-LEO capability sooner rather than later.

Okay, but for the sake of argument, we' trash HST for political reasons (using the very real reason of safety as a guiding motive), and start working on getting folks to the Moon. Lots of pork barrel project contracts get let, which incidentally go mostly to Texas, Florida, and other Blue States. Three or four years go by, billions of dollars are spent on R&D, and we find out that we don't have enough folks rising through the ranks from the American public school system (mostly because "No Child Left Behind" initiatives have replaced math and science with religious indoctrination in the schools). We're in a world of hurt, the space program is getting broken faster than we can fix it, and why, well lookie here... remember back in the good ol' Dubya days? why yes, he let in all these immigrants. Some of them might be employable as engineers and what not. But, here's the bigger blow -- let's ship all them high-tech jobs over seas and let the lower-paid engineers in other countries do all the tech work for us. It works well -- they get good jobs, the companies get to rack up record profits (which they funnel into political contributions to keep the gravy train going), but a funny thing happens on the way to the Moon. Lots of money being spent on Earth, but we don't have a Moon base and Mars missions are still robotic.

Set against that scenario, I guess you're all right -- losing HST is a drop in the bucket. It's also a grim reminder that politics has no business defining science, but apparently business and politics trump science concerns.

I find this all so disheartening, even as I hope against hope that we really WILL get back to the Moon and Mars. As a long-ago member of the original Mars Underground, I used to think we'd be on the Moon by now and planning trips to Mars. Sadly, I think that by the time our children grow up, they won't have those two goals, or a chance to participate in such exciting ventures as HST or JWST.

On another topic, there IS certainly a challenge coming to the idea of space astronomy from the ground-based adaptive optics people, but even the highest, driest observatories with the most cutting-edge systems still have bad days far more often than an orbiting platform does. The systems are getting better all the time, and I fully expected that by the time HST was ready for its normal de-orbiting (rather than this politically-based manipulation of science for political gain), AO would have surpassed what it could do. It probably still will -- and the deorbit of HST will likely spur those efforts on. So, science won't totally lose -- but it's still a major disappointment to see a working observatory and the people who worked so hard on it be thrown around for one man's ambition to keep his throne.

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 03:31 PM
You know, this discussion really ought to be over in BABB, it just occurred to me that it's more appropriate there for the political content, although there's science mixed in. My main objections are to the politicization of science that appears to be SOP from D.C. and not necessarily to the idea of deorbiting HST -- it was going to happen sooner or later.

In an effort to get this back to astronomy though, I'd like to discuss more about what HST can still do in its time left on orbit.

Until the AO situation on the ground is improved to the point where it seriously challenges a 24-hour-a-day capability in space, there will be huge gaps left when HST goes out of commission, possibly as early as late next year (if what I heard about going to two-gyro mode comes true). I'm currently working on a project for an observatory that does do AO and it's pretty clear that the state of the art is "THIS" close to mounting that kind of challenge to HST. The limiting principles, even at the high, dry altitudes at which it works, are still humidity (i.e. atmospheric water vapor content) and plain ol' bad weather.

Last week at AAS we had a wonderful presentation of a deep field taken with the Gemini instruments, for example, and it was pretty clear to me that they are moving into HST's former territory. IN a few years they may well be where HST is today, if they get their added improvements. We also see similar efforts by ESO in Chile, and some of their work is stunning. So, in the natural order of things, HST will cede ground to AO systems. In the meantime, it will continue to probe as far as possible, as deep into time as possible, and also with high resolution. I expect to see further efforts at deepfield work, but I also think in the time that's left, we continuing monitoring planetary changes -- those long-term changes in atmosphere at Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, etc. that give us a much fuller picture of change over time.

Any other ideas?

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 04:42 PM
You know, this discussion really ought to be over in BABB, it just occurred to me that it's more appropriate there for the political content, although there's science mixed in. My main objections are to the politicization of science that appears to be SOP from D.C. and not necessarily to the idea of deorbiting HST -- it was going to happen sooner or later.

Political discussions have been deemed inappropriate anywhere on this board, even on the BABB. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can speculate about politics, I suggest you take this discussion to one of them.

I want to point out, again, that this decision was made by Sean O'Keefe not by the President, any claim to the contrary is purely speculation and I would ask you, even in a political discussion, to provide evidence.

DJ
2004-Jan-17, 05:34 PM
i have to side with the folks wanting to can that 70's space-junk bus called hubble. it's been a black hole for big dollars ever since it's launch. sure, we get pretty pictures, and pretty pictures are the maven of the media. we also get some pretty limited science.

the shuttle is also a piece of 70's space junk, and it is killing way too many people. doesn't NASA have to answer to OSHA somewhere along the line? guess not.

it is clear that in order to truly establish a presence in space does not mean taking pictures, but building a sustainable infrastructure. after many years of relatively short missions (ok, some Mir and ISS missions were pretty long vis-a-vis folks on board), these were stepping stones to understanding what REALLY needed to be done to establish our presence off this pitiful little planet that's just about used up.

to think to the future often requires a dramatic churning. we see this in business all the time with mergers, reorganizations, layoffs, etc. these are "refittings" of the infrastructural cogs that make things change. the ONLY way to successfully change something is to decide that there is a problem, and get some other folks to agree. those other folks have to be the "right" folks - and be passionate about what they do. that's the role of pres. bush here. o'keefe is the agent of change. it makes zero sense to continue to throw good money to bad projects. that's not just business, it's life. i'll bet very few people on this board still use the same camera they bought in the 80's.

i would like to see ALL of NASA passionate about something, not just about their little project here or little project there. NASA right now is functioning like a radio shack electricity experiment kit... a bunch of pieces, minimal usefulness as a whole but work well in small bunches. and what do you get? a radio that can barely pick up AM :)

let's take a forward look here and fix the fundamentals. then, let's get back to the real passion of creating a permanent presence elsewhere in the universe.

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 05:48 PM
It's tough to separate the politics out of the discussion when it comes to talking about which missions we fund and which we don't.

As for the uselessness of Hubble science -- it is doing science the same as any other observatory, and thus arguments that bash it for being only one kind of science could be applied to mars missions, ISS, etc.... the fragmentation of NASA was inevitable when it started to focus on many different missions. I suspect that, too, is inevitable in an organization that gets a mandate to do many things -- whether it is government or privately funded.

Now, I did ask about the "end times" astronomy Hubble can be doing while waiting for its gyros to fail.

Russ
2004-Jan-17, 05:48 PM
I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember when Prez. Kennedy made his dashing man on the moon speach. We were at the height of "The Cold War", we had our foot in the Viet Nam war, the foundations for the racial conflicts were cast and ready for use. Need I go on???

I will tell you that all of the problems being proffered as to why we shouldn't go now, were spoken then. Spoken more eloquently as people were better educated then. If we are going to worry about budget issues, let's cut the communistic handouts and other programs that are not described as duties of the government in the constitution.

Let's get back into space for real Mr. Bush!!!!

Let the flames begin!

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 05:51 PM
You know, this discussion really ought to be over in BABB, it just occurred to me that it's more appropriate there for the political content, although there's science mixed in. My main objections are to the politicization of science that appears to be SOP from D.C. and not necessarily to the idea of deorbiting HST -- it was going to happen sooner or later.

Political discussions have been deemed inappropriate anywhere on this board, even on the BABB. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can speculate about politics, I suggest you take this discussion to one of them.




And yet, there they are over there in BABB, occurring whether one approves or not. Which is why I pointed this out.



I want to point out, again, that this decision was made by Sean O'Keefe not by the President, any claim to the contrary is purely speculation and I would ask you, even in a political discussion, to provide evidence.

I would point out that any claim that politics is NOT involved is also purely speculation...

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 05:53 PM
I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember when Prez. Kennedy made his dashing man on the moon speach. We were at the height of "The Cold War", we had our foot in the Viet Nam war, the foundations for the racial conflicts were cast and ready for use. Need I go on???

I will tell you that all of the problems being proffered as to why we shouldn't go now, were spoken then. Spoken more eloquently as people were better educated then. If we are going to worry about budget issues, let's cut the communistic handouts and other programs that are not described as duties of the government in the constitution.

Let's get back into space for real Mr. Bush!!!!

Let the flames begin!

russ,

I'm not really going there, but I did stay up much of the night thinking through possible scenarios about why this mad dash to the Moon isn't going to work this time. If you like we can discuss them privately...

Archer17
2004-Jan-17, 06:37 PM
You know, if politics can be left out of the conversation there would be no reason to make it private. Spacewriter, political discussion is frowned upon here and saying it's occuring anyway is a lousy justification to violate the FAQ. The BA will address those examples you refer to.

It's a shame the Moon/Mars initiative can't be discussed on it's technical merits without people having to dip their pen into the political inkwell all the time.

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 06:42 PM
You know, this discussion really ought to be over in BABB, it just occurred to me that it's more appropriate there for the political content, although there's science mixed in. My main objections are to the politicization of science that appears to be SOP from D.C. and not necessarily to the idea of deorbiting HST -- it was going to happen sooner or later.

Political discussions have been deemed inappropriate anywhere on this board, even on the BABB. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can speculate about politics, I suggest you take this discussion to one of them.




And yet, there they are over there in BABB, occurring whether one approves or not. Which is why I pointed this out.

Really now, "everybody else is doing it" never worked on my parents and it should not fly here.




I want to point out, again, that this decision was made by Sean O'Keefe not by the President, any claim to the contrary is purely speculation and I would ask you, even in a political discussion, to provide evidence.

I would point out that any claim that politics is NOT involved is also purely speculation...

I never claimed that politics was not involved, politics is pretty much always involved in government decisions to some extent. But to suggest that that the President was directly onvolved in the HST decision is speculation and so far there is no proof for your assertion.

Espritch
2004-Jan-17, 06:43 PM
From what I've read about this, the idea behind this decision was that the maintenance mission for the Hubble would be canceled and the remaining shuttle missions dedicated to finishing the ISS. The thing that bothers me about this is that the Hubble has proven itself as a useful scientific instrument with a relatively high return on investment. I've yet to see any obvious return from the ISS. This decision strikes me as a poor allocation of resources.

That being said, I do think it's time to replace the current space shuttle fleet. I would like to see the delivery of people decoupled from the delivery of cargoes. Trying to do both with the same vehicle made for an overly large and complicated craft with way too many ways for something to go wrong.

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 06:52 PM
From what I've read about this, the idea behind this decision was that the maintenance mission for the Hubble would be canceled and the remaining shuttle missions dedicated to finishing the ISS. The thing that bothers me about this is that the Hubble has proven itself as a useful scientific instrument with a relatively high return on investment. I've yet to see any obvious return from the ISS. This decision strikes me as a poor allocation of resources.

You are partly correct. The decision is based on the fact that, now that the managers are finally listening tp the engineers familiar with the Shuttle, it has been decided that the Orbiter will only fly to the ISS so that if there is a problem with it the astronauts will have a place to go and everyone can take time to determine a solution. Unfortunately, going to the HST and the ISS in a single mission is beyond the capability of the Orbiter. I would add that IMHO you are right that the HST is of more scientific value than the ISS, but I am also sure that not everyone would agree.

DJ
2004-Jan-17, 06:53 PM
i think if hubble science is valuable enough, a consortium of countries or institutions should get together and raise the money to privately buy it out (at auction, it should go for a reasonable amount), and then pay any space agency that wants the business to maintain it. for example, maybe ESA could buy it out.

lots of companies sell off their old fleets.

Glom
2004-Jan-17, 06:54 PM
i have to side with the folks wanting to can that 70's space-junk bus called hubble. it's been a black hole for big dollars ever since it's launch. sure, we get pretty pictures, and pretty pictures are the maven of the media. we also get some pretty limited science.

If you're going to bash something, you could at least have the courtesy to know what you're bashing. :evil: HST is 80s technology upgraded four times to modernise its technology. We most get more than just limited science from it. If it's so crap, why would it be in such high demand. And the rest of your post is miserable gitism.

Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-17, 06:55 PM
The Columbia accident board said that NASA would have to develop specific tools to repair the shuttle in orbit- for any mission without a backup facility. (ie any missions not to the ISS - the only one of those was to service hubble)

It was too expensive for them to develop all the procedures, for only one more ever mission to hubble. So, since they don't have the tools, they can now only go to the ISS.


I've yet to see any obvious return from the ISS.
Most of its science will now be dedicated to life science investigations- to prepare for the upcoming moon missions. Hopefully when we get a full crew on it the science return will increase...

DJ
2004-Jan-17, 07:10 PM
glom, why so glum? it was certainly no personal attack on you. it's a freakin hunk of metal.

how much did those missions cost to keep it up to date? how much to even fix it the first time when it was in need of glasses?

ok, we can talk billion here, but it also kept us focused on the shuttle as the orbiter - we had no other choices. in essence, the hubble is partly to blame for throwing good money at bad projects. it has to go.

and i'm sorry, the "science" that it produced may have been good for a narrow few researchers "in the field". that's a fact. the rest of it is pretty pictures - at least that's how it comes across to the public at large. any discovery that hubble made hardly changed something here on earth. but apollo technology, hell, that gave us tang!

get it yet?

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 08:52 PM
From what I've read about this, the idea behind this decision was that the maintenance mission for the Hubble would be canceled and the remaining shuttle missions dedicated to finishing the ISS. The thing that bothers me about this is that the Hubble has proven itself as a useful scientific instrument with a relatively high return on investment. I've yet to see any obvious return from the ISS. This decision strikes me as a poor allocation of resources.

You are partly correct. The decision is based on the fact that, now that the managers are finally listening tp the engineers familiar with the Shuttle, it has been decided that the Orbiter will only fly to the ISS so that if there is a problem with it the astronauts will have a place to go and everyone can take time to determine a solution.




I find myself wishing that someone had listened to engineers quite a bit earlier on in the Shuttle's history. We might not now be saddled with an investment many times more expensive than HST will ever be. And, while an orbiting space station does make some sense, this one has been a mass of compromises (both scientifically and politically) since its inception. I've always felt we should have kept on with the lunar missions... shows you how old I am...




Unfortunately, going to the HST and the ISS in a single mission is beyond the capability of the Orbiter. I would add that IMHO you are right that the HST is of more scientific value than the ISS, but I am also sure that not everyone would agree.

Certainly not the ISS proponents.

:o

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-17, 09:03 PM
glom, why so glum? it was certainly no personal attack on you. it's a freakin hunk of metal.

how much did those missions cost to keep it up to date? how much to even fix it the first time when it was in need of glasses?

ok, we can talk billion here, but it also kept us focused on the shuttle as the orbiter - we had no other choices. in essence, the hubble is partly to blame for throwing good money at bad projects. it has to go.

and i'm sorry, the "science" that it produced may have been good for a narrow few researchers "in the field". that's a fact.


How so? Sources please.




the rest of it is pretty pictures - at least that's how it comes across to the public at large.



Actually, I have quite a bit of contact with the public, and you would be surprised at how many people actually follow the science done by the space telescope. Its work shows up in classroom work, textbooks, planetarium shows, museums, and popular TV programs. It came a long way from being an "orbital turkey" to a very useful part of the world's astronomy capability. Why I used HST images to illustrate my first astronomy book (and no, it wasn't a pretty pictures book). When I talk about my work, oh, say to somebody in line at the airport while we're waiting for a boarding pass, HST is one mission that gets talked about a lot! That's not to say others don't get attention, but HST has presence in the public mind.

We are a visual species. We learn a lot from pretty pictures. And ugly ones. Mars missions show that quite deftly, as do the images we see from HST. And Chandra. And Spitzer. And Galileo. The accompanying data in other wavelengths are teaching us a lot.

I have to ask though: if pretty pictures from HST (or some other orbiting spacecraft) are so horribly passe, then why bother looking to space at all? Why tell us that ground-based observatories can do the same work (they can't yet, but they will). They'll just produce pretty pictures, too.





any discovery that hubble made hardly changed something here on earth.



YOUR contention; back it up please with sources...




but apollo technology, hell, that gave us tang!

get it yet?

[-X [-X [-X

Simplistic analogies don't work with complex issues.

Look, folks who work with data from orbital observatories get this kind of crap all the time. "What does your work do to contribute to humanity?" and other such questions. You could easily ask the same question of other observatories, of religious institutions, of political ones... and there are no simple answers. So, just waving one's hands and dismissing one set of scientific accomplishments in order to boost another one is playing a zero-sum game that doesn't need to be played.

And so I ask again, in order to get this conversation back on science: what sorts of observations should Hubble make in its final year or so on orbit?

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-17, 09:15 PM
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
Frank Zappa

Direct quotes should be attributed! 8)

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 09:21 PM
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
Frank Zappa

Direct quotes should be attributed! 8)

Cool, thanks. I heard this the other day on the radio in the form of "it has been said that...".

You will note that it has now been corrected. :oops:

Glom
2004-Jan-17, 09:26 PM
One may suck on this! (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3405249.stm)

Gave us the age of the Universe
Provided proof of black holes
Gave first views of star birth
Showed how stars die
Caught spectacular views of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's collision with Jupiter
Confirmed that quasars are galactic nuclei powered by black holes
Gathered evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating

Have Your Say (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/3405867.stm)

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-17, 09:46 PM
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
Frank Zappa

Direct quotes should be attributed! 8)

Cool, thanks. I heard this the other day on the radio in the form of "it has been said that...".

You will note that it has now been corrected. :oops:
In rereading my post, I realize that I came off sounding more harsh than I intended. :oops:

A local music critic's column is titled Dancing about Architecture. He attributed it to FZ, so that is how I knew where the quote came from.

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 10:01 PM
Not to worry, I took no offense. I was genuinely happy to get a name to apply to my new quote. To be completely honest, it only wound up in my signature because I wanted to remember it. :)

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-17, 10:04 PM
Well, I think Spacewriter has many good points. I hope I didn't appear to be disagreeing with you on all points. However, I think that given a choice between a good exploration program and a possibly failing HST, I would take the space exploration program. Now, that does leave out the issue of how and where and when the exploration would occur. If we validated the concept of "Rocket A Day" and turned a space exploration program into a Space Economy then it would be emminently more valuable than HST could ever be. A valuable space economy would produce bigger and better space telescopes. In the future astronomers will look at the HST like we look at Galileo's meager telescope now: useful in it's day but eclipsed by newer technology.

There will always be politics in any discussion about anything between more than a few people. Perhaps it is useful to speak of small "p" politics and big "P" Politics. I think the Bad Astronomer wants to avoid Partisan Politics. Perhaps small "p" politics defined as the process through which a group of people come to a decision [process politics]" is ok here. That's what this debate should be about.

Personally, I would like to have both a bigger, bolder, cheaper, faster Space program and allow HST to complete it's mission. Perhaps there is a solution floating around out there. Could we not send up a repair kit in a cheaper Progress type craft near the HST or Orbiter so that the servicing mission can take place. If we go into space in a big way we will still need a repair kit for the orbiter or it's replacement. If it's a minor problem then it could be patched until they could get to the ISS. If it's a catastrophic failure, then being near the ISS may not make a difference. In fact, it could endanger the space station as well.

I think the HST has been useful and many may not understand how and why. But we need to recognize that a comprehensive space program and space economy will not kill astronomy, it will be reinvigorated. Without knowing that a space economy will evolve to support future astronomical expansion we can not guess how this will play out. We can mourn the loss of HST or we can get excited about a bright new era.

Deep space imaging is useful. It shows us how old the universe is so that we can hypothesize there the antimatter went, how the different bosons fit in, how the expansion of the universe will evolve and it's implications for humanity over the next century. All this may be applied to electronics and materials science... or it may not. We don't know if a space economy genius will give us cheap and powerful launch vehicles... but we don't know that HST will either. We need to go with gusto into space, and we need to give up the timidity of astronomical voyeurism.

DJ
2004-Jan-17, 10:40 PM
glom & spacewriter, let's do the homework here. real, tangible homework.

point: Gave us the age of the Universe
counterpoint: Gave us another theory on age of the universe. Still lots of theories about actual numbers, and still a pretty wide range with lots of problems, i.e. some structures that appear to be older than the "age."

point: Provided proof of black holes
counterpoint: provided us with another theory on black hole existence, more collaborative evidence. hawking did more from his chalkboard.

point: Gave first views of star birth
counterpoint: that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.

point: Showed how stars die
counterpoint: that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.

point: Caught spectacular views of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's collision with Jupiter
counterpoint: had a few spectacular views of that with my celestron SCT. so what?

piont: Confirmed that quasars are galactic nuclei powered by black holes
counterpoint: that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.

point: Gathered evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating
counterpoint: speculation. still did not quell valid arguments about acceleration, there are many who do not concur.

hubble is old and busted. moon bases are new hotness. given the PC weirdness on the board lately, this is a slight modification of a quote from Men in Black 2.

if you told me let's spend another billion on hubble, i'd honestly ask you to spend it here on new books for schools. as to the point i made and spacewriter picked up on about the science only providing something to a narrow few, well, look at the results of the point/counterpoint up above. NONE of those things has a single bearing on anything down here. and it is not an oversimplified analogy to say apollo gave us tang. that was a bit tongue-in-cheek, i admit, but it doesn't make what i said any less true. 20 years AFTER hubble's inception, continuing to pour good money into it does not yield much back here. if the items glom selected are the real bang-for-the-buck things spacewriter wanted as "facts" to my statement, then i am correct in my assessment.

that's how i'd vote, too. this will not always be a discussion of fact, but of philosophy. it never ceases to amaze me how much we spend on or defending old, dead, busted philosophies. [-X

if i could cast a vote to privatize major portions of NASA to gain a 30-50% efficiency over a government beauracracy, i'd probably snap the lever trying to pull it more than once.

beck0311
2004-Jan-17, 11:55 PM
if i could cast a vote to privatize major portions of NASA to gain a 30-50% efficiency over a government beauracracy, i'd probably snap the lever trying to pull it more than once.

This sounds good, but you are just attempting to make an assertion without facts. It is easy to say that privatization will allow a gain of 30-50% efficiency over "government burearucracy". But I would appreciate it if you would provide some proof of this, or are you just another person who votes for things based on the way they sound? This is just a case of using a "fact" that is common knowledge (aka no proof). At NASA we have actually been required to outsource for a lot of things in the last several years, and it has been a total disaster. I am currently in the process of wrapping up a design for a small test asset that we were almost forced to outsource. The final cost for the entire system is around $65,000 including the labor (Designers and fabricators). The bid we received from the primary contractor was $500,000 and their design had half the functionality and would likely have to be redesigned for future flight phases. The situation I am describing is much more common than you would probably realize. But you are allowed to go to the polls with whatever silly notions you want.

granolaeater
2004-Jan-17, 11:58 PM
I think we we need a permanent base on the moon. On the short term you could do much greater astronomy on the moon then on earth or in earths orbit. (just try to imagine very long baseline interferometry on optical wavelengths!)
On the long term the moon will be a much better platform to build real spaceships (manned and unmanned) then earth.

But if you force nasa to try this without giving them appropriate funds means to effectively kill nasa.

But don't worry, if you americans don't go to moon in the next few decades we europeans will surely do.

Glom
2004-Jan-18, 12:02 AM
But don't worry, if you americans don't go to moon in the next few decades we europeans will surely do.

That would be nice. But Germany will have to get over its anti-nuclear stance first.

beck0311
2004-Jan-18, 12:03 AM
But don't worry, if you americans don't go to moon in the next few decades we europeans will surely do.

As an American, and a NASA engineer, I say the more the merrier. The world could use some friendly competition in this arena. Or better yet, some cooperation.

Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-18, 12:51 AM
DJ

Using your viewpoint, I could also say that pretty much any mission not used for telecommunications or solar-flare watching is "pretty cool. but doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here."

You think that the current Mars rover missions are a waste of money too? after all, what practical way do they help you & I? :roll:



But don't worry, if you americans don't go to moon in the next few decades we europeans will surely do.

That would be nice. But Germany will have to get over its anti-nuclear stance first.
The french are fairly pro-nuclear, at the same time... I'd like to see ESA put people in space- aren't they supposed to develop their own crewed vehicle for the ISS, to be launched by Ariane 5? Or was that cancelled too...

granolaeater
2004-Jan-18, 12:55 AM
But don't worry, if you americans don't go to moon in the next few decades we europeans will surely do.

As an American, and a NASA engineer, I say the more the merrier. The world could use some friendly competition in this arena. Or better yet, some cooperation.

Yeah, this is the way I think too =D>


That would be nice. But Germany will have to get over its anti-nuclear stance first.

I don't think this would interfere with our space program.

1.) At the moment we are against using nuclear power for mass energy provision. But this is no general anti-nuclear stance. No one plans to shut down our research reactors.

2.) You do not need nuclear power to go to the moon. The mass-power ratio of a nuclear reactor is not very sufficient to launch nuclear powered spaceships from earth. Just think about why no one ever tried to build nuclear powered airplanes.

3.) It would be nice to use nuclear power on moon and necessary to use it in space if you would want to make a reasonable effort to go to 'mars and beyond'. But this is no problem either. You may discuss our reasons not to use nuclear power here on earth, but if you are for for against them, no one of them fits on using nuclear power on moon or in space.

4.) We would not like to launch great amounts of nuclear fuel from earth into space for safety reasons. But this is an even better reason to go to the moon.
To launch nuclear powered spaceships from there would be not even technically easier but also safer.
If you would mine and process the nuclear fuel there too, you would not only have much more safety but you would avoid the costs and difficulties of launching it from earth too.
Even if you are a friend of using nuclear power on earth - would you like to see several kg or even tons of Plutonium or Uran235 dumped uncontrolled somewhere on earths surface by a failed launch?

beck0311
2004-Jan-18, 01:00 AM
granolaeater, your second quote should be attributed to Glom not me.

Glom
2004-Jan-18, 01:07 AM
Yeah that was mine and accepted on all those points. I just can't resist bringing up the issue at every remote opportunity. :)

Jack Higgins
2004-Jan-18, 01:10 AM
You may discuss our reasons not to use nuclear power here on earth, but if you are for for against them, no one of them fits on using nuclear power on moon or in space.
Clearly you haven't heard of the "stop cassini" (http://www.animatedsoftware.com/cassini/index.htm) idiots... They can't even differentiate between RTGs and fission reactors. :roll:


Even if you are a friend of using nuclear power on earth - would you like to see several kg or even tons of Plutonium or Uran235 dumped uncontrolled somewhere on earths surface by a failed launch?
Of course, nobody would. But the fuel will be so well shielded that even if it were to re-enter the atmosphere normally, it should survive. Apollo 13's RTG for the never-deployed ALSEP experiments is believed to have survived re-entry over the pacific, for example. (Inside the unshielded lunar ascent module)

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-18, 01:16 AM
that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.

that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.

that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.
If that had been Man's driving philosophy from the beginning, we'd still be living in caves.

"Hey Ogg, you think this would grow if I stuck it in the ground?

"Shut up! Either eat it or give it to me and I will."

Glom
2004-Jan-18, 01:18 AM
Of course, uranium and plutonium, while fissile, isn't all that dangerous in its radioactivity. It's half life is absurdly wrong. Of course, they are toxic, but then there are many chemicals that are giving us far more severe doses.

granolaeater
2004-Jan-18, 01:19 AM
granolaeater, your second quote should be attributed to Glom not me.
Excuse me - my fault


Yeah that was mine and accepted on all those points. I just can't resist bringing up the issue at every remote opportunity.
:D No problem. I am not a big friend of using nuclear power on earth but I am no fanatic (like the most germans I think). I know that there are good reasons in favor to nuclear power too.

Espritch
2004-Jan-18, 01:22 AM
Just think about why no one ever tried to build nuclear powered airplanes.

Oh but they did! The Convair X6 was an attempt to do just that.

Espritch
2004-Jan-18, 01:33 AM
and i'm sorry, the "science" that it produced may have been good for a narrow few researchers "in the field". that's a fact. the rest of it is pretty pictures - at least that's how it comes across to the public at large. any discovery that hubble made hardly changed something here on earth. but apollo technology, hell, that gave us tang!

get it yet?

Why yes - I think I do get it. It's all about tang. Any science program that doesn't give us tangy delicious breakfast drinks should immediately be abandoned. Science for the sake of science is just not cost effective. The US government should get out of the business of basic research and leave it entirely in the capable hands of big corporations. Pretty soon we'll have 10,000 varieties of underarm deodorant and life will be just peachy.

Or was that not quite what you meant? :-?

granolaeater
2004-Jan-18, 01:56 AM
You may discuss our reasons not to use nuclear power here on earth, but if you are for for against them, no one of them fits on using nuclear power on moon or in space.
Clearly you haven't heard of the "stop cassini" (http://www.animatedsoftware.com/cassini/index.htm) idiots... They can't even differentiate between RTGs and fission reactors. :roll:

Even if you are a friend of using nuclear power on earth - would you like to see several kg or even tons of Plutonium or Uran235 dumped uncontrolled somewhere on earths surface by a failed launch?
Of course, nobody would. But the fuel will be so well shielded that even if it were to re-enter the atmosphere normally, it should survive. Apollo 13's RTG for the never-deployed ALSEP experiments is believed to have survived re-entry over the pacific, for example. (Inside the unshielded lunar ascent module)

I have heard about them, but I am not one of them. I even would like to have really fission reactors in space, but I would not like to launch them from earth. To build a fission powered infrastructur in space you would need much higher amounts of fissionable Material then you have in these little RTGs. This would make it much more difficult and expensive to launch it savely from earth.


Of course, uranium and plutonium, while fissile, isn't all that dangerous in its radioactivity. It's half life is absurdly wrong. Of course, they are toxic, but then there are many chemicals that are giving us far more severe doses.
This holds true for the non fissile Uran238. This stuff is not more dangerous then normal lead. But the fissile Isotopes are much more instable (only this makes it possible to use the heat of their normal decay in RTGs).
Ok, the amount of alpha radiation is quite harmless if it is generated outside your Body. I even worked with Americium Isotopes as a student, no problem. (Our professor: to use this stuff with students is much more dangerous then plutonium physically, but it is much more safe politically :-? )
But I would not want to get a dust piece of plutonium into my lungs, or see terrorists get access to it, or even some fools who will use it unprotected to heat their houses.

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-18, 02:21 AM
So maybe we don't send a lot of highly refined plutonium and uranium to the moon. Perhaps we lock it in some sort of mixture to prevent it from being dangerous even if it reentered earth's atmosphere. Once on the moon, it could be refined for use in a reactor... or a breeder reactor so that more fuel could be made nad less launched from earth.

Solar power will play a crucial role as well. Although the moon has 2 week long "nights," we could erect a series of solar collection sites connected by microwave transmission towers or by lunar satellites or even L4 and L5 orbiting solar stations. We'll also want to look into energy storage like advanced electrical batteries and flywheels.

If we need to look for radioactives on the moon, we'll probably need to dig fairly deep. Some colonization plans, mine at least, call for tunnel boring machines to dig out permanent subsurface habitats and for mining. These would probably be electrically powered from solar and stored-solar energy or they could be nuclear steam/electric. So we would need fissiles in order to get fissiles. BTW, some of those tunnels may eventually be used to transit between lunar bases or used for power transmission and communications instead of using surface relay towers. That way, there would be less interference for Farside radio observatories.

What if we just sent a lot of little bits of plutonium and uranium on each rocket instead of a couple big loads. It could be wrapped in lightweight foam with folding wing panels. If the launch failed it could be ejected and float down like Mir's Solar panels rather than burn up. I don't know if it would work, but I'm thinking about it. Let's think about how it can work instead of why it won't.

I wish I could go to NASA and help with these challenges, but I'm a synthesist and not a technician. I'm sure that they've got more than enough Ph. D's to solve these issues.

granolaeater
2004-Jan-18, 02:28 AM
and i'm sorry, the "science" that it produced may have been good for a narrow few researchers "in the field". that's a fact. the rest of it is pretty pictures - at least that's how it comes across to the public at large. any discovery that hubble made hardly changed something here on earth. but apollo technology, hell, that gave us tang!

get it yet?

Why yes - I think I do get it. It's all about tang. Any science program that doesn't give us tangy delicious breakfast drinks should immediately be abandoned. Science for the sake of science is just not cost effective. The US government should get out of the business of basic research and leave it entirely in the capable hands of big corporations. Pretty soon we'll have 10,000 varieties of underarm deodorant and life will be just peachy.

Or was that not quite what you meant? :-?

This Idea of some politicans that you could know what research will give usefull results is completely nonsense.
Electricity was introduced as a plaything for frivolous partiy games. And for many, many decades no one even could imagine that there could be more useful applications.
Now about hubble. Hubble helped us to better understand the big bang - better understanding the big bang will help us to better understand particle physics. So far we know - only of theoretical interest? These next steps are unknown but supposable: Better understanding particle physics will help us finding a way to generate muons cheap and energy efficient. Creating muons this way will allow to do cold muon catalyzed nuclear fusion. cold muon catalyzed nuclear fusion will allow us to build fusion reactors of the size and costs of car engines. - Only of theoretical interest?

granolaeater
2004-Jan-18, 03:03 AM
So maybe we don't send a lot of highly refined plutonium and uranium to the moon. Perhaps we lock it in some sort of mixture to prevent it from being dangerous even if it reentered earth's atmosphere. Once on the moon, it could be refined for use in a reactor...

What if we just sent a lot of little bits of plutonium and uranium on each rocket instead of a couple big loads. It could be wrapped in lightweight foam with folding wing panels. If the launch failed it could be ejected and float down like Mir's Solar panels rather than burn up. I don't know if it would work, but I'm thinking about it. Let's think about how it can work instead of why it won't.
Of course you would be right if this would be the only possible way. But why launch this heavy material and the added weight of all these complicated safety additions when you find the same stuff on the moon where you need it?


If we need to look for radioactives on the moon, we'll probably need to dig fairly deep.
Why do you think so? Because of its chemical affinities uranium is mostly found in the light crustal rocks. Due to the less density of the moon there should be more of this kind of material on the moon then on earth. And the uranium rich rocks will not be buried under thick sedimantary rocks like on earth. I think you will have good chances to get uranium on the moon even on open cast mining. And you will have no safety or enviromental problems by doing that.

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-18, 03:10 AM
Have you a reference you can cite for this? From what I've read, the Moon is woefully short on all of the heavier elements.

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-18, 03:51 AM
So maybe we don't send a lot of highly refined plutonium and uranium to the moon. Perhaps we lock it in some sort of mixture to prevent it from being dangerous even if it reentered earth's atmosphere. Once on the moon, it could be refined for use in a reactor...

What if we just sent a lot of little bits of plutonium and uranium on each rocket instead of a couple big loads. It could be wrapped in lightweight foam with folding wing panels. If the launch failed it could be ejected and float down like Mir's Solar panels rather than burn up. I don't know if it would work, but I'm thinking about it. Let's think about how it can work instead of why it won't.
Of course you would be right if this would be the only possible way. But why launch this heavy material and the added weight of all these complicated safety additions when you find the same stuff on the moon where you need it?


If we need to look for radioactives on the moon, we'll probably need to dig fairly deep.
Why do you think so? Because of its chemical affinities uranium is mostly found in the light crustal rocks. Due to the less density of the moon there should be more of this kind of material on the moon then on earth. And the uranium rich rocks will not be buried under thick sedimantary rocks like on earth. I think you will have good chances to get uranium on the moon even on open cast mining. And you will have no safety or enviromental problems by doing that.

I admit I don't know if and where radioactives may be on the moon. It'd be great if they were within easy reach on the surface. Or would the energetic solar wind have any effect on surface radioactives? I honestly haven't looked that far into it.

I read that the moon's core is off-center toward the earth. If it is so, then is that a cause or an effect of tidal motion and synchronicity? Was the Lunar core always off center, and did this determine which face of the disc we see? Or was the interior plastic long enough for the core to migrate out of position. If it migrated in a fluid evironment did that environment exist simply because of impact heat or were radioactives keeping it warm deep inside?

Either way we'll probably need fission on the moon. Later we may try fusion and other forms of energy production. When I think about it, I wonder if the moon will end up a giant city like the fictional "Coruscant" in the Star Wars movies. We'll all be a little bit taller there and those jedi leaps may just be possible.

granolaeater
2004-Jan-18, 04:23 AM
Have you a reference you can cite for this? From what I've read, the Moon is woefully short on all of the heavier elements.
I don't think I can give you a direct quote on the whole Idea.
From a german physics textbook (Bergmann, Schaefer) I got this:
Planet..............Density (kg/m^3)
............observed....corrected for standard temperature and pressure
Earth.......5515..........4100
Moon.......3340..........3400

On the first glimpse you would say: Ah less density means less heavy elements. But this only holds for the more abundant elements like oxygen, silicium, magnesium, aluminium and iron. Uranium is by far to seldom to have such a direct effect.
The next you will get from astrophysics textbooks. In accordance with the impact theory of moons formation this density variation means that the moons material came mainly from earts crust and mantle, and less from the core.
Now you need some geology - where is uranium found? My physics textbook (Bergmann, Schaefer) says uranium is highly enriched in lighter crustal rocks wich are created by partialy melting of former mantle material.
Bergmann, Schaefer gives this table, too

Planet...........estimated average abundance of
....................Uranium in Crust and Mantle in ppb:

Earth.....................20 - 26
Moon.....................20 - 30

This means slightly more uranium on moon, But on the other hand moon is less differentiated then earth and this means more uranium poor mantle rocks dirctly on the surface but this may be counterbalanced by no uranium poor sedimentary rocks like limestone on the surface.
so you may expect to find as much uranium on the moon like on earth.

On the other hand the samples we have brought back from the moon are, so far as I know, very poor in uranium. But with the little number of probes we have you would have the same effect on earth to for statistical reasons because uranium ores are very rare.

DJ
2004-Jan-18, 05:12 PM
DJ

Using your viewpoint, I could also say that pretty much any mission not used for telecommunications or solar-flare watching is "pretty cool. but doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here."

You think that the current Mars rover missions are a waste of money too? after all, what practical way do they help you & I? :roll:



But don't worry, if you americans don't go to moon in the next few decades we europeans will surely do.

That would be nice. But Germany will have to get over its anti-nuclear stance first.
The french are fairly pro-nuclear, at the same time... I'd like to see ESA put people in space- aren't they supposed to develop their own crewed vehicle for the ISS, to be launched by Ariane 5? Or was that cancelled too...

Actually, I think the Mars rovers are right on target. They are new, fresh, and have a purpose with regard to a permanent infrastructure on space and ultimately manned missions to Mars. Along with the search for life, we will learn if the soil can support the kinds of power and life support structures we want to put there for people to go.

Having 2 of them just makes sense, it's "mission critical" type of stuff.

My point is that Hubble is outliving it's usefulness, and relies on the shuttle, which needs to be replaced. If it means sacrificing Hubble now to get more later, let it go. It's just a different philosophy that one takes. In my business, each building we build anew is greatly improved on the previous building. After a certain amount of time, we stop going back to our older buildings and upgrading everything. Ultimately, we sell them off to other private sectors to do with what they need.

I don't need a lecture of basic business economics any more than I need to be told that public companies do not run more leanly than the government. "Common knowledge" or not, your example only outlines my example more clearly. Every contractor knows that getting a cushy government contract is just what they need. But in the private sector, we squeeze contracts for every last penny. And get it.

nebularain
2004-Jan-18, 07:15 PM
My point is that Hubble is outliving it's usefulness, and relies on the shuttle, which needs to be replaced. If it means sacrificing Hubble now to get more later, let it go. It's just a different philosophy that one takes. In my business, each building we build anew is greatly improved on the previous building. After a certain amount of time, we stop going back to our older buildings and upgrading everything. Ultimately, we sell them off to other private sectors to do with what they need.

Trying to think this through practically rather than emotionally, I am thinking this argument makes a lot of sense.

Sure, I'd love to see Hubble live on to it's fullest potential. Realistically, there are gives and takes in life, and often times sacrifices have to be made. You still hate it, but, well, you know that expression about having your cake and eating it too? I wish I could do both all the time, but I have to accept that I can't.

The shuttles have been great, but aren't they overdue for newer ships?

Hubble, I think, got caught in the transition mix. When transitioning to upgrades in anything, unfortunately good things get scrubbed early or scrubbed completely or re-focused. It's tough, but - well, that's all a part of life.

Did NASA's mission need to be upgraded? Well, there is a case for it. Times change, people change, intentions change. Aren't there expressions about how things that don't bend will break?

We can argue politics and finances and what-not on this issue til the cows come home, but sometimes we have to accept that we can't see all the variables and hope that it all works out for the best in the end.

I'll be sorry to see Hubble's life cut short. But at the same time, the possibility of sci-fi dreams of humans travelling through space comming into the picture once again - hey, that's exciting, too. Isn't it?

Kind-of see what I'm saying?

beck0311
2004-Jan-18, 07:41 PM
I agree with the above two posts about HST. I was a big fan of it when it launched and I am always happy when new pictures come out. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that in order to keep servicing it requires the Shuttle, which I pointes out earlier is simply not an option. As valuable as HST is to the scientific community it is simply not worth risking 7 human lives. I would love to see new better space telescopes in the future and I expect that it will happen eventually. I also agree that if an international consortium with the money to maintain it wanted to buy it, that might be an interesting solution, but I am not sure how realistic that is, it would be pretty expensive with little monetary payoff.

SirThoreth
2004-Jan-18, 08:22 PM
Couple more things of note, regarding the decision not to fly another servicing mission to the HST.

First, I was reading an article about this on www.space.com today, and they mentioned that one of the requirements of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board was that NASA not only had to have a repair system in place for a Shuttle flying to service Hubble, but they also had to have a second Shuttle sitting on the launch pad, ready to go immediately if there were problems. So, NASA would have had to spend a fortune to develop those free-flight repair capabilities for one single mission, then would have to spend another large sum of money ($500 million minus the post-flight refurbishment costs) to have a second Shuttle standing by, ready for launch.

Which brings me to my second point.....Hubble is basically a modified KH11 spy satellite turned the other way. It's not exactly new technology, here, despite the numerous upgrades. Rather than spend all that money on one more refurbishment flight, it seems prudent to me to look into building a follow-on bird with improved optics in the visual light range.

Third, I was reading Scientific American a couple months back, which mentioned the capabilities of ground-based observatories are rapidly approaching, and in some cases, surpassing Hubble. While the HST was launched in 1990, its underlying technology is much older.

Lastly, the HST stands a good chance of failing before we could make repairs, anyway. That's a good indicator that it's time to focus on successors.

TinFoilHat
2004-Jan-19, 01:01 AM
Ok, with no more servicing missions planned, what's going to happen when the Hubble's orbit decays? Is it going to result in drbris raining down in some unpredictable location ala Skylab?

BOB2.0
2004-Jan-19, 01:27 AM
Are we talking about the same hubble that was launched blind and had to be fixed in orbit?


While it may have been a great piece of equipment how much of an advance did it make? Would these things never have been accomplished without it?

Compare it to all of the technology that was developed by NASA to send people into orbit or to the moon. It seems to me (a non scientist) that the greater return for the investment is something that may have a real impact on people. The stars they are going to be there tomorrow. What is 2 or 3 years in the life of a star anyway? People's lives however could be positively affected by developments from these manned programs almost over night. The andvances in engineering and manufacture would be felt very quickly but how does knowing that the universe is 14 billion years old rather than 13 billion help us right now. Science for science's sake is great and interesting and all but the general population really does want something for there tax dollars not just some data that a few(myself included but not most of the population) finds interesting. For instance I think it is cool to know how old the universe is but joe blow is more interested in that new composite material that makes his life better.

I say go to the moon, go to mars. Exploration breeds scientific inquiry. Think about all the exterrestral geologists that will sprout up from our studies of mars, science for science's sake will come following the exploration. Thanks. Just my opinion.

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-19, 01:31 AM
Ok, with no more servicing missions planned, what's going to happen when the Hubble's orbit decays? Is it going to result in drbris raining down in some unpredictable location ala Skylab?

Well, we could shoot it down with an ASAT from the BMD program. Hubble could even take a picture of it at the same time. Then the footage could be sold to the James Bond people for inclusion in the next movie. Hollywood saves the space program!

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-19, 02:25 AM
Are we talking about the same hubble that was launched blind and had to be fixed in orbit?


While it may have been a great piece of equipment how much of an advance did it make? Would these things never have been accomplished without it?



Quite a bit and probably not -- or at least not as quickly. It could be argued that because of HST we gained quite a bit of experience in deconvolving difficult images, and it spurred on the adaptive optics revolution.

It never was simply science for science's sake. It has done observations that simply could not (and in some cases still cannot) be done from Earth, no matter how good your AO system is. I wouldn't look down my nose at its ability to look back as far back in space in time as it has...




Compare it to all of the technology that was developed by NASA to send people into orbit or to the moon. It seems to me (a non scientist) that the greater return for the investment is something that may have a real impact on people. The stars they are going to be there tomorrow. What is 2 or 3 years in the life of a star anyway? People's lives however could be positively affected by developments from these manned programs almost over night. The andvances in engineering and manufacture would be felt very quickly but how does knowing that the universe is 14 billion years old rather than 13 billion help us right now.



How does a Spam in a Can mission to the Moon help us right now? Or a rush job to get to Mars?




Science for science's sake is great and interesting and all but the general population really does want something for there tax dollars not just some data that a few(myself included but not most of the population) finds interesting. For instance I think it is cool to know how old the universe is but joe blow is more interested in that new composite material that makes his life better.

I say go to the moon, go to mars. Exploration breeds scientific inquiry. Think about all the exterrestral geologists that will sprout up from our studies of mars, science for science's sake will come following the exploration. Thanks. Just my opinion.

You are right that exploration breeds scientific inquiry. But, as I have learned first hand in my own research, it isn't always necessary to climb into a space ship to explore the cosmos.

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-19, 05:57 AM
Gastronomy versus Spice Exploration

So there was this guy once, who was all like "dude, why do we need to hire remotes to go to China and draw us pictures and maybe send back a sample of silk and spices and stuff?"

His bro was all like, "Cuz that's what people want. They got tigers and lions and cannibals and all that strange stuff, man. Who would want to actually go there and risk life and limb?"

And the first guy, Chris, said "No way, man. We need some serious spice-age. This living vicariously stuff is for the brits. We gotta go there for ourselves."

And his bro up and said, "Nah, man we don't need no spice program. I'm all cozy here and don't wanna go exploring."

But Chris could not be daunted. He went out and got all sweet with the queen of Spain an' she gave him some money and some ships to go check it out.

Again, his bro was again all like, "Dude, that's not real explorin', you're all into the money and doing it for political gain. You know Isa and Ferd are just using you to further their conquest of Spainland. Besides you don't know how far away it is... you might not make it."

But Chris was not up in all that. "I'm cool with that possibility. If we fail, we fail. But at least I'm gonna try. Who knows, maybe I'll find something even better. Wouldn't that be a hoot!"

"It would indeed"

And so the gallant explorer sailed off for China and the west indies and the rich spicelands of legend. And darn it if he never made it. But at least he found a land full of promise and beauty and plenty. And this Italian brought back tomatoes, which when cooked with spices made a great sauce for Pizza. So you see, the spice exploration program gave us so much more than simple gastronomy ever could imagine.

@2004 JPax

AstroSmurf
2004-Jan-19, 11:27 AM
=D>

Alan
2004-Jan-20, 05:54 PM
Probably a dumb question, but, how useful would salvaging the solar panels for use in the ISS be? NASA is planning to launch a motor to de-orbit the Hubble, would the cost be about the same for one to change orbit to meet the ISS, have the occupants spacewalk and remove the panels/attach to the ISS, then de-orbit, or even attach the entire satellite to the ISS for experimental purposes? Would there be any benefit over just building and launching new panels up to the ISS? I realize that vibrations from the ISS would probably prevent the Hubble from doing much if it was attached to the ISS, someone can probably come up with something to do with it.

Sparks
2004-Jan-20, 07:06 PM
Seen on \. today:

Space Tug to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Rescue? (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=10083)


Orbital Recovery Corporation (ORC) is developing a Spacecraft Life Extension System or SLES for the life extension of GEO orbiting spacecraft. It has occurred to us that this system could be used for HST life extension as well. The SLES (patent pending) is a space tug currently in the advanced development stage that has the ability to lift multi-ton GEO spacecraft from intermediate orbits to GEO, take over the attitude control and station keeping of these large spacecraft. It could do the same for the HST.

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2003/08.20.03.SLES.Hubble.1.jpg


This is not a technology that is beyond our grasp requiring hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Our solar electric propulsion system is in the advanced development stage, has at least three U.S. vendors of the Hall Effect electric thrusters, and could be ready to fly by a 2006 Shuttle mission to HST or lofted later for an autonomous rendezvous and docking similar to our standard mission scenario. We are working with the German Space Agency DLR to commercialize their expertise in flight proven software and existing hardware for our GEO application that can be extended to this mission. ORC and its partners have put over $2M dollars into the development of this system and has been independently validated by top U.S. aerospace consulting firms. We have a commercial price that is less than a typical Discovery class scientific mission. This is not a dreamsat mission as Deke Slayton used to say, it is a real option for the U.S. to preserve and extend the life of a telescope that has provided remarkable science and intensely beautiful images that has brought the magnificence of the universe into our lives.

The interesting thing about this idea is that last paragraph quoted above - this would be a commercial servicing mission. Has that ever been done before?

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-20, 07:06 PM
Good point Alan. If we're going to the expense of lifting a booster to deorbit Hubble, why not boost it to an ISS compatible orbit?

DJ
2004-Jan-21, 12:20 AM
i mentioned this a page or 2 back, sell it off, make it a profit center, not an expense center.

they will not, and no one will buy. VW buses were cute after the 60's too, but no one took them as serious vehicles.

ToSeek
2004-Jan-21, 06:07 AM
Good point Alan. If we're going to the expense of lifting a booster to deorbit Hubble, why not boost it to an ISS compatible orbit?

The challenge would mostly be changing the inclination (which is tough) from Hubble's 28 degrees to ISS's 51.

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-21, 11:01 AM
Good point Alan. If we're going to the expense of lifting a booster to deorbit Hubble, why not boost it to an ISS compatible orbit?

The challenge would mostly be changing the inclination (which is tough) from Hubble's 28 degrees to ISS's 51.
Yes, I am aware that most of the delta v would be in the change in inclination rather than the change in altitude. I was just wondering if it was feasible. After all, the plan is to lift a robot booster to Hubble to deorbit it. Why not lift a booster with enough delta v to redirect the orbit into an ISS compatible one?

Sparks
2004-Jan-21, 11:07 AM
Why not lift a booster with enough delta v to redirect the orbit into an ISS compatible one?
Noise abatement.

rsa
2004-Jan-22, 04:13 PM
I haven't see this posted yet.

Scientists vow to keep Hubble alive. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4019044/)



Hubble Space Telescope operators plan to ask Russia for help in keeping the observatory alive and will even consider accepting private donations, which have already been offered.

Every idea under the sun will be considered for keeping the popular and scientifically valuable observatory operating even though NASA has decided to let it die.

"We're in the mode of pursuing every wacky concept out there," said Steven Beckwith, the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which operates Hubble for NASA.

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Jan-28, 04:49 AM
DJ, I'm afraid you are laboring under a misconception. Actually, many, many misconceptions. It sounds to me like you have formed an opinion about Hubble without actually having talked to an astronomer, or anyone else.

I am an astronomer. I used Hubble for ten years; 5 for my PhD (using 3 separate instruments) and five more after that calibrating and using STIS (http://www.stsci.edu/instruments/stis/) (and using WFPC2 and NICMOS). I also have written many articles about Hubble, and have talked to literally thousands of people in the public about it. I think I am objectively qualified to have an informed opinion. So let me tackle some of the things you've said:



i have to side with the folks wanting to can that 70's space-junk bus called hubble. it's been a black hole for big dollars ever since it's launch. sure, we get pretty pictures, and pretty pictures are the maven of the media. we also get some pretty limited science.

This was your first post in this thread, and is fraught with errors.

Hubble has been upgraded several times since launch. In fact, the cameras onboard now are cutting-edge. ACS has a 16 megapixel camera that is incredibly well-designed. My friends who work on it would laugh if you called it 70s technology.

The pretty pictures are more than the maven of the media. I'll return to that shortly.

And Hubble has been expensive, for sure. It may even be the most pricey astronomical instrument ever built. But it has hardly been a black hole for big dollars. It's cost is minor compared to the ISS (care to name any science that's come out of that?), for example. And the term "black hole" implies nothing has come out of it. Far from being a black hole, or returning "limited science" Hubble has brought us quite a bit.

Hubble science has run the range of astronomy, from data on the Moon and planets to nearly the farthest reaches we can see. Alan Boyle, of MSNBC, has an excellent article on a small slice of what Hubble has done (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/Default.aspx?id=3077788&p1=0). A search on the NASA journal database (here (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html)) returned over 17,000 papers with "HST" (Hubble Space Telescope) in their abstracts. Limited science indeed.



ok, we can talk billion here, but it also kept us focused on the shuttle as the orbiter - we had no other choices. in essence, the hubble is partly to blame for throwing good money at bad projects. it has to go.


Hubble had very little to do with keeping the Shuttle. The Space Station is the reason the Shuttle has stayed around as long as it has. On what data did you form your opinion? It's wrong.

Then you said, as a repeated rebuttal to real science returned by Hubble:


that is pretty cool. doesn't really give us a cure for anything back here.


The same can be said about you. What have you cured lately? Why should we keep you around?

Nothing personal there (really!); I am making a point. How many of us have cured anything? Why should that be the end-all-and-be-all of a project?

Now, if you want tangibles returned by Hubble, then I'll point you to the camera industry. Cheap, inexpensive CCDs, the detectors used in digital cameras, are a spinoff of Hubble technology. The detectors used in Hubble's WFPC and WFPC2 cameras were difficult and expensive to make, and engineers learned how to make them cheaper, better, and more reliable. The improvement in CCD tech in just a few years between WFPC 1 and 2 is amazing. I've used both cameras, and I can tell you the technology was drastically increased. That knowledge was not lost.

That's one example. There are lots more.



hubble is old and busted.


Nonsense. All it needs are new gyros. They are moving parts, like tires on a car. They wear out, and need to be replaced. But the cameras on board are doing quite well, and the new cameras waiting in the wings (WF3 and COS) are in many ways even better.



My point is that Hubble is outliving it's usefulness


And your qualifications for saying that are...? Maybe you should talk to an actual astronomer. But wait! I'm one! Hubble has at least a decade of good use left in it, and probably more. I know lots and lots of astronomers, and I have not heard a single one say that Hubble is obsolete and should be trashed.



In my business, each building we build anew is greatly improved on the previous building.


But do you tear down a perfectly good building just because you can make the new one out of better materials, even if the old materials still perform their job perfectly? Your analogy won't fly. If a building still works, you use it.

And what of those images I mentioned earlier? Like the one of the Eagle Nebula, which appeared in many major news magazines? Pictures like that are pretty indeed, but they also touch many people deeply, giving them a sense of awe and wonder. The Hubble Deep Field, when explained to schoolkids, routinely yields gasps of amazement from them. It puts them in contact with the Universe. Many people say our kids are jaded, fading away from reality. I wonder. When I give out Hubble images after public talks, the kids' eyes light up. It gives them a much-needed sense of majesty, of seeing that the Universe is an amazing place, and that we can study it, understand it, put ourselves in it. That's worth a lot. A whole lot.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. Peoples' viewpoints are limited to what they have experienced, and I think your experience is limited when it comes to Hubble. I have a decade's worth of experience using Hubble, both as a research tool, an educational tool, and a tool to instill magic into kids' hearts. That experience tells me that pretty much everything you have posted in this thread is wrong. Hubble is still a valuable and useful tool, and it would be a real shame if we had to lose it.

Jpax2003
2004-Jan-28, 06:58 AM
The hubble Space Telescope is not a waste.

However, it does resemble a waste paper basket with that hinged-lid and all... :-)

Sparks
2004-Jan-28, 07:56 AM
Well said Phil.

Spacewriter
2004-Jan-28, 09:38 AM
Thanks Phil. =D>

You took the words right out of my mouth -- I've been busy offline with several projects and haven't had a much of a chance to get back to this thread.

But, that being said, I also spent time on an HST team while in grad school, and ultimately wrote a book about HST that did pretty well. In the beginning even I was skeptical that HST COULD be fixed (this was in the deep, dark days right after spherical aberration was diagnosed on HST's main mirror). But, the more I saw what science was being done (and NOT reported about in the mainstream media), the more I impressed I was with the work-arounds and ultimately the technology used to correct HST's vision. It's been gravy ever since the first servicing mission, really. And I mean gravy in a good way... ;)

This became such a driving interest of mine that I also did a master's thesis in science journalism on the subject of the media treatment of HST. What I found was that the first few years the telescope was doing good science, it went unreported in the mainstream media, or, even more interestingly, for those several years, each time a good science result was reported, the writer/editor of the story would feel compelled to throw in some modifier about the "broken" Hubble Space Telescope. It took quite a while before such modifiers stopped getting used. In the meantime, those of us who were working on instrument teams knew the story and were frustrated about how the story was NOT getting told. It made me very cynical of the press, even to the point of doubting much of what gets reported publicly in other arenas -- like politics and economics.

But, getting back to HST, everything Phil has said is true and I often wonder just what good it has done him or me and the other half dozen or so science types who HAVE written books and articles trying to tell the story of HST's success, if the result is that we come on boards like this or run into naysayers in real life, examples of people who dismiss HST science without having bothered to educate themselves about the full story. It exists out there in books, on HST websites, the stuff gets used in Star Trek episodes fer crissakes! It's not like there's a science conspiracy to keep people from finding out about HST (or any other science mission). But folks do have to take responsibility for educating themselves before making statements like, "It's 70s technology that's outlived its usefulness." That sort of statement tells me that the utterer is living in a 70s world, or at least one where they expect knowledge to be spoonfed.

Count me in as another who has lectured many times about HST science in the larger astronomical context and who has met up with the same responses Phil describes among members of the public who DO enjoy seeing the images and DO ask intelligent questions because they DO want to know things. I mean, something as simple as a conversation with a bag boy at a supermarket checkout about astronomy led to the following exchange:

ME: Yes, paper will be fine thank you.

Bagboy: (noticing my astronomy tshirt depicting the moon) You into astronomy?

ME: yes, how about you?

Bagboy: Yeah. How about that HST, huh?

And he went on to tell me about how he'd seen the Hubble Deep Field picture in a book at the library and it really turned him on to astronomy. It was a great conversation. I've had many like it in airplanes, bank lines, star parties, planetariums, cruise ships, wherever....

Now that my HST book has gone into two editions and reprints, I've moved on to discuss lots of observatories' work in my new book, because there IS that large class of folks out there who want to KNOW about space and astronomy. And, because we are blessed with a magnificent array of ground-based AND spacebased observatories like European Southern Observatory and the 2-Micron All-Sky Survey and the Gemini installations and the Kecks and HST and Chandra and XMM and so many, many others, I've expanded my own views (and hopefully my readers') to as many wavelength realms as possible. That's all any of us who write about astronomy (and many who DO astronomy AND write about it) can hope for -- to provide the information for those who do want to take the time to find out what's happening.

So, don't tell me that HST hasn't done anything for anybody. If you want to start playing THOSE games, I've got a whole arsenal of current politicians and pundits we can start in on -- probably on somebody else's BBS. :)

Go read a few books about what's up there in space doing astronomy for us and what's down here on the planet, and where the trends in astronomy are and what the legacy of telescopes like HST and its predecessors in space (IUE, OSO, and many others) are -- and then come back here and convince the rest of us that HST isn't worth supporting any longer.

(Note: like Phil, I'm not aiming this personally at anybody here, but at the mindset that causes a person to dismiss a working observatory with a handwave and a sniff of disdain because he or she hasn't taken the time to find out just what's current. The point of this missive isn't to sell more books (although I and the other authors would all love you for it) but to point out that the methods and means for educating oneself are out there... )

Glom
2004-Jan-28, 12:29 PM
Yay BA!! =D>

Swift
2004-Jan-28, 03:00 PM
...When I give out Hubble images after public talks, the kids' eyes light up. It gives them a much-needed sense of majesty, of seeing that the Universe is an amazing place, and that we can study it, understand it, put ourselves in it. That's worth a lot. A whole lot.
=D> Absolutely. There is no disputing the science, but that's maybe even more important. And talk about solving humanities ills, maybe one of those kids who awakens to the wonder of science will go on one day to solve them!

One of my favorite Steven J. Gould essays was "Bully for Brontosaurus" where he talked about how great dinosaurs were for getting kids excited about science.

I think one of the things that shaped my love of science was Rachel Carson's book "The Sense of Wonder". The title says it all.

Hamlet
2004-Jan-28, 04:04 PM
This became such a driving interest of mine that I also did a master's thesis in science journalism on the subject of the media treatment of HST. What I found was that the first few years the telescope was doing good science, it went unreported in the mainstream media, or, even more interestingly, for those several years, each time a good science result was reported, the writer/editor of the story would feel compelled to throw in some modifier about the "broken" Hubble Space Telescope. It took quite a while before such modifiers stopped getting used. In the meantime, those of us who were working on instrument teams knew the story and were frustrated about how the story was NOT getting told.

This type of reporting ticked me off to no end and I'm glad someone in the media was as offended by it as I was. The initial problems with Hubble were seized upon as an example of government boondoggle and incompetence. Even after Hubble was fixed, the people who were reporting on it never seemed to update their opinion or information. Each article had to have the obligatory paragraph of Hubble's travails wasting valuable column space reporting old news instead of telling the story of what Hubble was discovering about our universe.


It made me very cynical of the press, even to the point of doubting much of what gets reported publicly in other arenas -- like politics and economics.

I've felt this way too. :( I see how many mistakes are made in reporting about subjects I know about that I have to conclude that just as many mistakes are being made in subjects in which I'm not as versed. What upsets me the most is that many of these errors are in basic facts. Do fact checkers and editors not exist anymore?

Thanks for the great post. I'm looking forward to reading your work.

daver
2004-Jan-28, 09:14 PM
Good point Alan. If we're going to the expense of lifting a booster to deorbit Hubble, why not boost it to an ISS compatible orbit?

The challenge would mostly be changing the inclination (which is tough) from Hubble's 28 degrees to ISS's 51.
Yes, I am aware that most of the delta v would be in the change in inclination rather than the change in altitude. I was just wondering if it was feasible. After all, the plan is to lift a robot booster to Hubble to deorbit it. Why not lift a booster with enough delta v to redirect the orbit into an ISS compatible one?

Old post, but I just calculated this for another thread. It takes about 3 km/sec delta V to shift Hubble to ISS; using NTO/UDMH that's about 11.5 * 1.7 = 20 tons of fuel, plus a bit for the booster. A DS-1-type ion engine would require perhaps 1.5 tons of fuel, plus a bit more for the solar panels and such. I don't know how either would be attached; the chemical thruster would presumably need to be quite low thrust in order not to damage the scope. The DS-1 ion engine has an output thrust of 92 mN, which translates into perhaps .5 meters/sec/day--it would take 6000 days to complete the plane shift, which doesn't appear particularly helpful. 10 engines would reduce the time to a couple of years, and would require perhaps 25 kW of electricity.

Kaptain K
2004-Jan-29, 12:19 PM
...the chemical thruster would presumably need to be quite low thrust in order not to damage the scope.
Why??? It survived a shuttle ride up there!

Sparks
2004-Jan-29, 01:16 PM
...the chemical thruster would presumably need to be quite low thrust in order not to damage the scope.
Why??? It survived a shuttle ride up there!
Yes - but in a stowed configuration and packed to withstand the stresses, and that was a decade ago or more.

ToSeek
2004-Jan-29, 02:59 PM
Old post, but I just calculated this for another thread. It takes about 3 km/sec delta V to shift Hubble to ISS; using NTO/UDMH that's about 11.5 * 1.7 = 20 tons of fuel, plus a bit for the booster.[

That's well within the capabilities of an Ariane or Delta launch vehicle.


A DS-1-type ion engine would require perhaps 1.5 tons of fuel, plus a bit more for the solar panels and such. I don't know how either would be attached; the chemical thruster would presumably need to be quite low thrust in order not to damage the scope. The DS-1 ion engine has an output thrust of 92 mN, which translates into perhaps .5 meters/sec/day--it would take 6000 days to complete the plane shift, which doesn't appear particularly helpful. 10 engines would reduce the time to a couple of years, and would require perhaps 25 kW of electricity.

I'm not sure I like that idea, since it presumably means that Hubble is unusable for the duration.

gethen
2004-Jan-29, 03:09 PM
Phil, I just e-mailed your response to DJ to my friend, on whose behalf I had posted a poll in this forum. I should have just asked for your opinion. You have pretty much echoed what he told me, as far as the value of the Hubble. He just wondered if the general public felt the way he did.

daver
2004-Jan-29, 08:35 PM
Old post, but I just calculated this for another thread. It takes about 3 km/sec delta V to shift Hubble to ISS; using NTO/UDMH that's about 11.5 * 1.7 = 20 tons of fuel, plus a bit for the booster.[

That's well within the capabilities of an Ariane or Delta launch vehicle.


Yes, with a caveat or two. The problem is not so much getting it up there, but doing the unmanned rendezvous and docking. It'd need a circa 1000 newton (maybe closer to 100--it depends on how much acceleration Hubble could stand) motor that could burn continuously for perhaps up to a week, while it balances the whole ungainly mass. I suspect that the autodock would be the most technically challenging part.


I'm not sure I like that idea, since it presumably means that Hubble is unusable for the duration.
Agreed. Taking a few months off for the transition might be ok.

Launch window
2004-Oct-27, 05:17 PM
US astronaut Michael Fincke said that he was ready to return to orbit with his Russian colleagues but their was also some talk of Hubble. Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Gennadi Padalka spent six months on the ISS. "Not everything in space is simple," Padalka said, in response to a question about the decision of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration to rely more on robots for space exploration. "We have a flexibility that the machines do not have," he added. He expressed skepticism over NASA plans to repair the Hubble Space Telescope using only robots. Russian craft have been the only means of getting to the space station and back since the United States grounded its shuttle fleet following the loss of the Columbia, Padalka doesn't seem to think are current robots will answer Hubbles problems

pumpkinpie
2004-Dec-06, 04:26 PM
It was hard for me to decide what topic to post this update in, I hope it's appropriate. NPR did a story this morning about a new report out on the fate of Hubble.

Report Discourages NASA Plan to Save Hubble (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4202377)

NASA asked the Aerospace Corporation (AC) to do an independent study weigh options for future of Hubble. It is a confidential document, but an Executive Summary is available. AC concluded a robotic servicing mission is high-risk, and it would take too long--5 years to develop, and Hubble. But someone (the Senior Project Scientist, I didn't catch his name) from Goddard countered that the AC study didn't take into account that the robot is already developed and flight-qualified ISS, so that cuts down on time. The study also recommends that Hubble be brought down and the two instruments waiting to go up should be put on a new, bare-bones telescope. The study says that a human servicing mission is medium-risk, and the only option guaranteed to reach Hubble before it dies.
The story also included a clip of Sean O'Keefe saying that a human servicing mission is still absolutely not an option.
Another report by National Academy of Sciences is due out this week.
The story didn't give any timeline for when a decision will be made.

ngc3314
2004-Dec-06, 05:02 PM
It was hard for me to decide what topic to post this update in, I hope it's appropriate. NPR did a story this morning about a new report out on the fate of Hubble.

Report Discourages NASA Plan to Save Hubble (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4202377)

NASA asked the Aerospace Corporation (AC) to do an independent study weigh options for future of Hubble. It is a confidential document, but an Executive Summary is available. AC concluded a robotic servicing mission is high-risk, and it would take too long--5 years to develop, and Hubble. But someone (the Senior Project Scientist, I didn't catch his name) from Goddard countered that the AC study didn't take into account that the robot is already developed and flight-qualified ISS, so that cuts down on time. The study also recommends that Hubble be brought down and the two instruments waiting to go up should be put on a new, bare-bones telescope. The study says that a human servicing mission is medium-risk, and the only option guaranteed to reach Hubble before it dies.
The story also included a clip of Sean O'Keefe saying that a human servicing mission is still absolutely not an option.
Another report by National Academy of Sciences is due out this week.
The story didn't give any timeline for when a decision will be made.

One thing that quietly slipped by in a NASA news release in mid-summer was that the Hubble Origins Probe has been selected for further study. I have to say that, as I look at the alternatives, this seems clearly the most cost-effective approach to the decline in Hubble's usability. The idea is to take the two new instruments - COS and WFC3 - and launch them on a new basic 2.4m telescope. (You'd probably want to aberrate the optics just like Hubble's, in fact, to keep instrument changes to a minimum). A number of studies have said that such a thing could have been done before for around $250 million, since we've learned a lot since Hubble's design was set around 1980. Even if that means $500 million, it beats the robotic alternative. I have no doubt that various offices within NASA (and the USAF) would really like to see $2 billion invested (by someone else) in space-qualified robotics, but it don't seem right to implicitly charge that to the Hubble program if the major interest is long-term. Again, robots in space could be a very powerful thing, but don't make it look as if all the money is being spent just to service HST.

I gather that HOP is a genuine and hard-working project, an impression that was reinforced when I went looking for graphics to spice up a talk at a con and found that the principal investigator had no power-point graphics! Aside from a nomination for sainthood, that may mean that everyone there is actually working the engineering.

pumpkinpie
2004-Dec-08, 08:43 PM
National Academy of Sciences says (recommends) NO to robotic mission, YES to human shuttle mission (http://www.spacedaily.com/2004/041208195301.n9u4cter.html) for servicing Hubble.

ngc3314
2004-Dec-08, 10:40 PM
National Academy of Sciences says (recommends) NO to robotic mission, YES to human shuttle mission (http://www.spacedaily.com/2004/041208195301.n9u4cter.html) for servicing Hubble.

One of their major problems with robotic servicing arises from the estimated complexity of the mission. Looking at the diagram here:
http://books.nap.edu/books/0309095301/html/75.html#pagetop shows that no NASA mission of even the compexity of the deorbit module alone, let alone the actual robotic work, has been successfully executed on a timeframe as short as the 39 months that they imposed. (The deadline comes from estimates of how long HST would retain enough functionality not to be a hostile docking target, and not to have had major systems dead so long that reactivation would propbably not restore useful function.) I'm rather less optimistic about the robotic option now.

sarongsong
2005-Jan-06, 06:14 PM
January 5, 2005 (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/01/05/mda.hubble.reut/index.html)
"...MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd said Wednesday it has signed a $154 million deal to help NASA's controversial repair mission to fix the aging Hubble Space Telescope...will supply "potential information and robotic servicing solutions" for the Hubble repair mission..."

um3k
2005-Jan-06, 07:52 PM
I'll go up there and fix it for free. I just need a ride. And a manual.

Squink
2005-Jan-06, 08:12 PM
will supply "potential information and robotic servicing solutions" for the Hubble repair mission..."Oh good, now all NASA has to do is convert that to kinetic information.

Saluki
2005-Jan-06, 09:44 PM
will supply "potential information and robotic servicing solutions" for the Hubble repair mission..."Oh good, now all NASA has to do is convert that to kinetic information.

Thanks. I needed a laugh today.

Evan
2005-Jan-06, 10:19 PM
Don't know if it made your news in the US but MD has already sucessfully demonstrated the capability to remote repair with a robot operating on the Hubble mockup. That is what changed NASA's mind on this. MD some time ago accquired SPAR Aerospace, the company that originally designed the arm. They have been developing far more sophisticated robotics since.

Maksutov
2005-Jan-07, 07:31 AM
will supply "potential information and robotic servicing solutions" for the Hubble repair mission..."Oh good, now all NASA has to do is convert that to kinetic information.
Does this mean NASA continues to go to pot due to its own inertia? Or is it all downhill from here?

ToSeek
2005-Jan-19, 05:50 PM
AAS: astronauts not robots should fix Hubble (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/19/astro_hubble_fix/)


The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has added its voice to calls for a manned mission to carry out essential maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope. The AAS endorsed the National Research Council's recommendation that the telescope be serviced by astronauts using the Space Shuttle rather than NASA's suggested robotic mission.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Feb-05, 04:56 AM
AAS: astronauts not robots should fix Hubble (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/19/astro_hubble_fix/)


The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has added its voice to calls for a manned mission to carry out essential maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope. The AAS endorsed the National Research Council's recommendation that the telescope be serviced by astronauts using the Space Shuttle rather than NASA's suggested robotic mission.

so its going to be fixed ?

ToSeek
2005-Feb-05, 05:03 AM
AAS: astronauts not robots should fix Hubble (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/19/astro_hubble_fix/)


The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has added its voice to calls for a manned mission to carry out essential maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope. The AAS endorsed the National Research Council's recommendation that the telescope be serviced by astronauts using the Space Shuttle rather than NASA's suggested robotic mission.

so its going to be fixed ?

Depends on whether Congress decides to fund it or not.

Kesh
2005-Feb-06, 02:21 AM
This is an interesting proposal (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16050). Instead of repairing Hubble, build a new telescope using the replacement & new parts that are sitting unused on the ground.

ToSeek
2005-Feb-06, 03:19 AM
This is an interesting proposal (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16050). Instead of repairing Hubble, build a new telescope using the replacement & new parts that are sitting unused on the ground.

Also brought up here. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=410195#410195)

archman
2005-Feb-06, 04:49 AM
This is an interesting proposal (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16050). Instead of repairing Hubble, build a new telescope using the replacement & new parts that are sitting unused on the ground.

Hooray, let's do that! No risks to astronauts, no "wasted" shuttle flight, and heck, it'll probably be cheaper. What are the downsides? Time to build... and if the new contraption's pretty big it'll need a heavy booster.

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Feb-06, 07:12 AM
Hooray, let's do that! No risks to astronauts, no "wasted" shuttle flight, and heck, it'll probably be cheaper. What are the downsides? Time to build... and if the new contraption's pretty big it'll need a heavy booster.

The Hubble Origins Probe is an interesting idea, but it is not a solution IMO. It will cost around 2 billion dollars (more than a servicing mission to HST) and certainly cannot launch for five or more years, meaning several years after Hubble will have failed.

ToSeek
2005-Feb-06, 03:03 PM
It will cost around 2 billion dollars.

Will it? The article says it will cost one billion dollars (which is also the cost of JWST). Estimates for a robotic servicing mission for HST are on the order of two billion dollars (though I still say that if they're going to repair Hubble, they should stick with astronauts).

George
2005-Feb-06, 11:26 PM
The Hubble Origins Probe is an interesting idea, but it is not a solution IMO. It will cost around 2 billion dollars (more than a servicing mission to HST) and certainly cannot launch for five or more years, meaning several years after Hubble will have failed.
What options are being seriously considered?

If a booster is planned to "deep six" it, how serious are they looking at a booster which would lower and stabilize it instead?

Can not a booster incorporate gyros and batteries to take control and extend the life of Hubble's power?

Is the Shuttle physically capable of returning the Hubble to us someday (assuming delta V issues resolved)?

Can the Shuttle launch with spare fuel in it's payload for the delta V issues?

I just feel the Hubble is too much a part of mankind's step into our universe to see millions spent to flame it into an ocean. It is hard for our minds to connect to the abyss we now find ourselfs. Thanks to Hubble, this abyss has been made beautiful. Seeing and touching Hubble someday by us and, more importantly, our children is vital in advancing our commitiment to this great and ultimate frontier.

Kaptain K
2005-Feb-07, 07:59 AM
If a booster is planned to "deep six" it, how serious are they looking at a booster which would lower and stabilize it instead?
One of the problems (aside from failing components) is that it is already getting too low and atmospheric drag is bringing it lower. Any lower and it will quickly (and uncontrollably) fall to Earth - the very thing that we are trying to avoid!

ToSeek
2005-Feb-07, 02:56 PM
Can not a booster incorporate gyros and batteries to take control and extend the life of Hubble's power?

That is under consideration as part of the robotic servicing mission.


Is the Shuttle physically capable of returning the Hubble to us someday (assuming delta V issues resolved)?

The shuttle could do this now, but it's not going to happen. (If NASA isn't willing to risk astronauts' lives on servicing Hubble, they're certainly not going to do so just to bring Hubble down to be put in the Smithsonian.)


Can the Shuttle launch with spare fuel in it's payload for the delta V issues?

That would be tricky, to say the least, and isn't going to happen in the present safety-conscious environment.

George
2005-Feb-07, 03:23 PM
If a booster is planned to "deep six" it, how serious are they looking at a booster which would lower and stabilize it instead?
One of the problems (aside from failing components) is that it is already getting too low and atmospheric drag is bringing it lower. Any lower and it will quickly (and uncontrollably) fall to Earth - the very thing that we are trying to avoid!
My hope was they could make the booster capable of controlling the Hubble. Equip it with gyros, batteries, etc., then shut-off the Hubble's power draining and, eventually, unreliable gyros/brakes. This would, I think, extend the battery life on-board the Hubble. It could stay in it's orbit, I suppose.

If there is a way to return it, the booster would bring it to a rendevouz point. Maybe a second "piggy-back" booster would be required for the delta V issue.

I am really just fishing for answers to plans such as this so I can get a better feel of what hope there may, or may not, be for the Hubble.

Early on, your idea stuck with me - if they are going to spend money on a booster to kill it, why not make one to save it (paraphrased ).

George
2005-Feb-07, 03:56 PM
Is the Shuttle physically capable of returning the Hubble to us someday (assuming delta V issues resolved)?

The shuttle could do this now, but it's not going to happen. (If NASA isn't willing to risk astronauts' lives on servicing Hubble, they're certainly not going to do so just to bring Hubble down to be put in the Smithsonian.)
But is it really that much of a greater risk? If so, could it come down in sections? Or, return just the main body and reject the solar panels, etc.

Since whims are in the news :) , can two shuttles go up with one returning via autopilot/Mission Control?



Can the Shuttle launch with spare fuel in it's payload for the delta V issues?

That would be tricky, to say the least, and isn't going to happen in the present safety-conscious environment.
Is there a reasonable way to get fuel up there?

ToSeek
2005-Feb-07, 04:01 PM
Is the Shuttle physically capable of returning the Hubble to us someday (assuming delta V issues resolved)?

The shuttle could do this now, but it's not going to happen. (If NASA isn't willing to risk astronauts' lives on servicing Hubble, they're certainly not going to do so just to bring Hubble down to be put in the Smithsonian.)
But is it really that much of a greater risk? If so, could it come down in sections? Or, return just the main body and reject the solar panels, etc.



The point is that it would have to be a mission with the sole purpose of returning Hubble to the ground. There's no way NASA is going to have an entire shuttle mission just for that.

joema
2005-Feb-07, 06:50 PM
Originally NASA rejected human servicing due to risk. Then when robot servicing was presented, they rejected it based on cost. Then the White House statement rejected both options based on cost.

Then servicing via a solar electric tug was presented, where it slowly moves the shuttle to ISS. NASA rejected that saying it was too difficult to put the solar panels on the space tug.

http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_hubble_050128.html

In a new statement today, NASA switched back to risk as the objection, not cost:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/02/07/budget.nasa.ap/index.html

""But the decision we made is largely being driven by the risk considerations. It was not driven by the budget."" -- NASA comptroller Steve Isakowitz

George
2005-Feb-07, 07:50 PM
Is the Shuttle physically capable of returning the Hubble to us someday (assuming delta V issues resolved)?

The shuttle could do this now, but it's not going to happen. (If NASA isn't willing to risk astronauts' lives on servicing Hubble, they're certainly not going to do so just to bring Hubble down to be put in the Smithsonian.)
But is it really that much of a greater risk? If so, could it come down in sections? Or, return just the main body and reject the solar panels, etc.



The point is that it would have to be a mission with the sole purpose of returning Hubble to the ground. There's no way NASA is going to have an entire shuttle mission just for that.
However, if the Hubble were in a lower orbit, a shuttle could carry up and unload a payload, then pick-up the Hubble (or it's main body at least). Of course, if the "debooster" could get it close to the ISS, so much the better (or is this now a mandate)?

Hamlet
2005-Feb-07, 09:34 PM
However, if the Hubble were in a lower orbit, a shuttle could carry up and unload a payload, then pick-up the Hubble (or it's main body at least). Of course, if the "debooster" could get it close to the ISS, so much the better (or is this now a mandate)?

The new shuttle flight rules restrict it to missions to the ISS so the "debooster" is going to have to provide the 3,000 m/s delta-V required to get Hubble to the correct altitude and orbital plane so that the shuttle could get to it.

OTOH, to de-orbit Hubble in a controlled manner, the "debooster" only has to provide about 250-300 m/s of delta-V. Enough to drop Hubble's perigee into the Earth's upper atmosphere at the correct place to prevent debris raining down over inhabited areas.

George
2005-Feb-08, 12:16 AM
However, if the Hubble were in a lower orbit, a shuttle could carry up and unload a payload, then pick-up the Hubble (or it's main body at least). Of course, if the "debooster" could get it close to the ISS, so much the better (or is this now a mandate)?

The new shuttle flight rules restrict it to missions to the ISS so the "debooster" is going to have to provide the 3,000 m/s delta-V required to get Hubble to the correct altitude and orbital plane so that the shuttle could get to it.

OTOH, to de-orbit Hubble in a controlled manner, the "debooster" only has to provide about 250-300 m/s of delta-V. Enough to drop Hubble's perigee into the Earth's upper atmosphere at the correct place to prevent debris raining down over inhabited areas.

Thanks Hamlet. The problem is now more apprent to me. The shuttle is only good for about 300 m/s, I think. A "debooster" would help some but it would be, likely, a challenge to make one big enough for the difference.

The solution is obvious, however. "Deboost" it to a matching shuttle altitude with as much change in inclination as is reasonable with the debooster. Have the shuttle lasso the Hubble as it gently comes to their mutual orbital intersection point. The Shuttle is about 8x the mass, so this will further the Hubble's orbital inclination adjustment. Load it up. Use the Shuttles 300 m/s to get to the ISS or simply bring it home from there. :) [Yes, I did just watch Space Cowboys :P ]

George
2005-Feb-08, 03:45 AM
FWIW, unfortunately, the cowboy thing is a real joke. For every degree of inclination difference, I came up with a radial velocity component of about 300 mph. The current 23 deg. difference would require the cowboy to rope the Hubble as it approached at about 7,000 mph. :roll: Even Spiderman would have trouble with this plan. [-X

So the burden seems to be on the back of the robotic debooster idea.

Is there a petition site to help support the Hubble's salvation?

Gillianren
2005-Feb-08, 06:52 AM
my personal attachment to Hubble stems from the fact that JPL adopted my junior high school in our district's Adopt-a-School program (which brought new terror to science fairs--they judged our projects). I'm about 95% sure I saw it being built. I've seen a few things being built at JPL, anyway.

here's the problem w/saying, "well, so we'll take it down; we'll put a new one up later": the public gets bored. the funding people (the gummint) are among the public. what did it take to get America excited about space travel again? shoot your congressman into space day, apparently. if more scientists were in Congress, no problem; the funding'd be there. but what we are practically discussing, here, is killing Hubble in exchange for the theoretical possibility of more stuff in the future. call me crazy, but let's keep Hubble.

joema
2005-Feb-08, 07:14 AM
...The shuttle is only good for about 300 m/s, I think. A "debooster" would help some but it would be, likely, a challenge to make one big enough for the difference...
While the plane change delta-V to move from Hubble's 28 deg. inclination to ISS's 52 deg is far beyond the shuttle's ability (or any conventional de-booster), it is possible using a solar electric space tug. IOW a solar-powered ion engine. These are already under development for use with comsats.

The main complication is the solar array is pretty big and apparently requires manual assembly at ISS before the robotic tug fetches Hubble back to ISS. NASA says it's too hard for their astronauts to assemble the solar panels:

http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_hubble_050128.html

Grand Vizier
2005-Feb-08, 07:39 AM
I'm not sure of the figures, but how would a modified Russian Progress or Soyuz - or the upcoming European ATV - do for a reboost/plane change/deboost? Leaving the politics aside, the Russian craft at least have the advantage of being cheap, and they should gain delta V capability from being flown empty (though of course they would have to carry extra docking equipment.)

[edited to say...]

I should think first. Of course, if launched from Baikonur, any Russian craft has to change its own plane first. Maybe when the Soyuz pad is ready at Kourou...

joema
2005-Feb-08, 08:22 AM
Neither Soyuz or Progress have remotely enough delta V. By itself Soyuz has about 400 meters/sec, fully fueled. Don't know Progress' capability, but I'm sure it's in that ballpark or less.

You need at least 3100 meters/sec, so short by about a factor of 10 (or more considering moving Hubble's mass plus the vehicle itself).

It would take a huge chemical rocket -- almost like a Saturn S-IVB 3rd stage. Or the solar electric space tug.

George
2005-Feb-08, 03:43 PM
While the plane change delta-V to move from Hubble's 28 deg. inclination to ISS's 52 deg is far beyond the shuttle's ability (or any conventional de-booster), it is possible using a solar electric space tug. IOW a solar-powered ion engine. These are already under development for use with comsats.

The main complication is the solar array is pretty big and apparently requires manual assembly at ISS before the robotic tug fetches Hubble back to ISS. NASA says it's too hard for their astronauts to assemble the solar panels:

http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_hubble_050128.html
Isn't the lead time pretty rough, too?

Just how did the Hubble get into a 52 deg inclination? Was it Soviet launched?

Is this 52 deg. inclination enough to help it avoid the dangerous Van Allen Belt if boosted outward? If so, a rebooster might eliminate the need for the "flaming deep six" plan.

What is the prospects for using Hubble spare parts and current ready-to-go upgrades to make Hubble II? Posterity would likely find a twin sister at the Smithsonian acceptable (after years of service, of course).

Hamlet
2005-Feb-08, 04:10 PM
Just how did the Hubble get into a 52 deg inclination? Was it Soviet launched?


ISS is at 52 deg. Hubble is at 28 deg. Parts of the ISS were launched by the Russians and parts by the Shuttle. Hubble was put into orbit by the Shuttle.



Is this 52 deg. inclination enough to help it avoid the dangerous Van Allen Belt if boosted outward? If so, a rebooster might eliminate the need for the "flaming deep six" plan.

I think that avoiding the Van Allen Belts has more to do with altitude than inclination. Even high inclination orbits would spend part of their time in the belts if they were at the right altitude.



What is the prospects for using Hubble spare parts and current ready-to-go upgrades to make Hubble II? Posterity would likely find a twin sister at the Smithsonian acceptable (after years of service, of course).

I can't find the link now, but IIRC, the team looking at this said it would take about 65 months to prepare.

George
2005-Feb-08, 05:26 PM
Just how did the Hubble get into a 52 deg inclination? Was it Soviet launched?


ISS is at 52 deg. Hubble is at 28 deg. Parts of the ISS were launched by the Russians and parts by the Shuttle. Hubble was put into orbit by the Shuttle.

Nuts. My bad. :oops:




Is this 52 deg. inclination enough to help it avoid the dangerous Van Allen Belt if boosted outward? If so, a rebooster might eliminate the need for the "flaming deep six" plan.

I think that avoiding the Van Allen Belts has more to do with altitude than inclination. Even high inclination orbits would spend part of their time in the belts if they were at the right altitude.
Probably right. I was wondering if inclination was enough to avoid them since the two belts are torus shaped. [edit: Of course, not so interesting at 28 deg. :-? ]




What is the prospects for using Hubble spare parts and current ready-to-go upgrades to make Hubble II? Posterity would likely find a twin sister at the Smithsonian acceptable (after years of service, of course).

I can't find the link now, but IIRC, the team looking at this said it would take about 65 months to prepare.
5-1/2 years? If true, that is terrible.

Andreas
2005-Feb-08, 05:40 PM
Of course, if launched from Baikonur, any Russian craft has to change its own plane first. Maybe when the Soyuz pad is ready at Kourou...
While Starsem will operate Soyuz launchers, they will still launch from Baikonur. Soyuz launches from Kourou don't seem to be planned.

ToSeek
2005-Feb-08, 05:51 PM
Soyuz launches from Kourou don't seem to be planned.

Yes, they are (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/soyuz2_guiana_041124.html) (but not till 2008).

ToSeek
2005-Feb-09, 05:41 PM
Bush orders Army to shoot down Hubble (http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i7414)

George
2005-Feb-09, 07:17 PM
Bush orders Army to shoot down Hubble (http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i7414)
Great. Glad it's over.

I feel sure that Bravo Battery will have no trouble shooting another one up. :)

pghnative
2005-Feb-09, 09:24 PM
Bush orders Army to shoot down Hubble (http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i7414)


Pieces of the Hubble Telescope soon began falling from orbit over a three state area. A large fragment fell on Bill Clinton’s boyhood home in Arkansas. Bush administration officials were quick to deny that this was planned.
:D :D :D :D :D

Swift
2005-Feb-09, 09:51 PM
I just had a weird idea (about on par with Bravo company taking shots :D ). If all we're going to do is de-orbit the Hubble, well let's make it spectacular! Let's de-orbit it so that the fiery part of the re-entry is over populated areas, so we all get a good show, then it plops into the ocean. Maybe Nike or Pepsi could sponsor it, like a half-time show! Or do it on the 4th of July. Maybe cruise ships could have trips out to the area to watch the splash. Sort of a Viking funeral for Hubble.

joema
2005-Feb-09, 10:51 PM
The High Altitude Research Project (HARP) gun could almost hit Hubble. It would require a rocket assisted projectile and terminal guidance, but in theory it's possible.

http://www.astronautix.com/articles/abroject.htm

ToSeek
2005-Mar-09, 05:37 PM
AAS Calls Servicing Hubble Important for Astronomy, Urges NASA to Stick with the Decade Plan (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16330)


The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been the crown jewel in NASA's science programs for over a decade. Its accomplishments have revolutionized our understanding of the universe in which we live, and it has inspired a new generation of students and the public at large with its discoveries. This remarkable performance can be expected to continue if HST is serviced. NASA's recently announced decision to forego any option to service the HST is therefore viewed with considerable disappointment by the American Astronomical Society and the astronomical community. While we recognize that HST's mission must end at some time, the fact that a servicing mission was a part of NASA's planned activity, and that two key replacement science instruments are already developed to enable important and exciting new science, makes this decision particularly unfortunate and difficult to accept.

ToSeek
2005-Mar-11, 05:21 PM
Mikulski kicks derriere (http://www.space.com/news/hubble_mikulski_030510.html)


In a sternly worded letter to acting NASA Administrator Frederick D. Gregory, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said she expects the U.S. space agency to heed the will of the Congress and keep preparations for a Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission on track.

Congress, in passing an omnibus spending bill late last year, directed NASA to set aside $291 million of its 2005 budget to spend planning and preparing for a servicing mission to Hubble by 2008. When NASA informed Congress just weeks later that it intended to spend only $175 million of that amount on the Hubble repair effort, some saw the move as an indication that the agency was preparing to abandon plans to service Hubble robotically and rely instead on a space shuttle crew to fix the telescope.

Doodler
2005-Mar-11, 06:39 PM
Good old Babs, she's quite the pistol, isn't she? If there's someone who can scream into a headwind for Hubble and maybe make a difference, she's it.

Almost enough to make me regret not voting for her last time around.

ToSeek
2005-Mar-16, 05:41 PM
The People's Telescope: Wrangling Over Hubble's Fate (http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/050316_hubble_fate.html)


Next week, NASA will hold a major review regarding the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) with dozens of engineers and other experts. The gathering is seen by some industry sources as a make-or-break event for any possibility of saving the observatory.

The meetings will cap months of heated exchanges between politicians, NASA officials, astronomers and the public.

Bad Dr Galaxy
2005-Mar-18, 11:14 PM
We just heard today that a Hubble Servicing (Rescue) mission is definitely
on! It was told to us in the context of large cuts to missions such as
SIM, Spitzer, Cassini, etc. The context, further, was that NASA had no
choice, it was a congressional mandate. (Babs?)

This may be a misunderstanding from higher levels of my management, and
I can site no supporting documentation. But it was an open meeting and
specific budget cut amounts were mentioned. That alone gives it some
plausiblity.

Launch window
2005-Jul-16, 05:35 AM
will the Hubble service mission go ahead

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/thesunherald/news/editorial/12118734.htm

?

publiusr
2005-Jul-20, 08:59 PM
I don't think Griffin trusts a robot to do the job--and rightly so.

ToSeek
2005-Aug-29, 04:51 PM
NASA Chief Likely To Delete Deorbit Module From Hubble Mission (http://www.space.com/spacenews/businessmonday_050829.html)


Moore said in an interview that extensive analysis has shown that Hubble is unlikely to re-enter on its own before 2020. "All of the analysis gives us more confidence that we have quite a bit of time before natural re-entry," Moore said.

Nicholas Johnson, NASA Orbital Debris program manager at Johnson Space Center in Houston, said boosting Hubble’s altitude at the conclusion of a shuttle servicing mission would buy NASA even more time.

publiusr
2005-Aug-31, 06:39 PM
This is why I love Griffin. O'Keefe wanted to kill Hubble off with a supposed 'robotic servicing mission' that was really a sneak way to get support for a de-orbit module.

Hubble will be safe--and with us for quite some time now.

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-31, 08:58 PM
Hubble will be safe--and with us for quite some time now.

I wish that were true, but it may not be.

Hubble will stay on orbit for longer than expected, which is great. However, the gyros are failing. If they lose control of the observatory due to a gyro failure, it will stay in orbit, but tumble. In that case, neither machine nor man will be able to fix it, since it's unsafe to approach a tumbling spacecraft.

So the time limit is not the orbital degradation, but the mean time between gyro failures.

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Aug-31, 09:05 PM
Cripes, speak of the devil:

Hubble starts two-gyro operation (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2005/aug/HQ_05242_hst_2_gyros.html):



NASA's Hubble Space Telescope entered a new era of science operations this week, when engineers shut down one of the three operational gyroscopes aboard the observatory. The two-gyro mode is expected to preserve the operating life of the third gyro and extend Hubble's science observations through mid-2008, an eight-month extension.

George
2005-Aug-31, 09:35 PM
Cripes, speak of the devil:

Hubble starts two-gyro operation (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2005/aug/HQ_05242_hst_2_gyros.html):



NASA's Hubble Space Telescope entered a new era of science operations this week, when engineers shut down one of the three operational gyroscopes aboard the observatory. The two-gyro mode is expected to preserve the operating life of the third gyro and extend Hubble's science observations through mid-2008, an eight-month extension.

I was just googling for the two gyro story. :)



The system was originally designed to operate on three gyros, with another three in reserve. Two of the six are no longer functional.

So, four are functional, of which two are operating.
I enjoyed the February article (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7051).

"When the engineers started writing the software, they had grave doubts," says Edward Weiler, director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US. "But I just got a report the test worked so well it's almost embarrassing. It's a real success story."

All good news. =D>

tracer
2005-Sep-01, 01:03 AM
If they lose control of the observatory due to a gyro failure, it will stay in orbit, but tumble. In that case, neither machine nor man will be able to fix it, since it's unsafe to approach a tumbling spacecraft.
Insert Russian-space-station-in-Armageddon joke here.

publiusr
2005-Sep-07, 05:13 PM
I wish that were true, but it may not be.

Hubble will stay on orbit for longer than expected, which is great. However, the gyros are failing. If they lose control of the observatory due to a gyro failure, it will stay in orbit, but tumble. In that case, neither machine nor man will be able to fix it, since it's unsafe to approach a tumbling spacecraft.

So the time limit is not the orbital degradation, but the mean time between gyro failures.

When I first wrote my post--we didn't have a $100 billion disaster estimate and a manned repair mission seemed very near.

If someone even mentions space spending now critics will descend upon them like harpies.

It has to be done under the table in some way.

ToSeek
2005-Sep-14, 06:40 PM
Health Checkup: Engineers Work to Stall Hubble's Death (http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/050914_hubble_health.html)


To keep the Hubble Space Telescope going, officials are changing how it operates and contemplating other actions for the aging observatory.

Engineers recently shut down one of the orbiting observatory’s three operational gyroscopes in an effort to preserve the operating life of the third gyro, thereby pushing Hubble’s science observations into mid-2008.

Other life-extension ideas are being studied – even downshifting Hubble onto one-gyro mode.

Scientists and engineers remain hopeful that the telescope will once again get a servicing makeover by astronauts. But such a shuttle mission depends on the health of that human spaceflight program. The shuttle is headed for retirement in 2010, with a vaguely defined Crew Exploration Vehicle to be its replacement. Meanwhile, it is not clear when the next flight will take place nor whether a trip to Hubble will be possible.

Keeping Hubble alive and scientifically valuable has become a race against the clock that involves aging hardware and dwindling battery life while solar activity that eats away at satellite’s orbit -- and of course, budget considerations.

jt-3d
2005-Sep-14, 07:54 PM
Sounds like the desperate to keep a dying patient alive, which I guess it is. So sad.