Monday, May 18, 2009

Zero Gravity!!

Is Hubble Telescope's days numbered?? Yes, as of today. The fifth and final mission to repair Hubble Telescope blasted off from Kennedy Space Center yesterday in space shuttle Atlantis. Another Space Shuttle Endeavour is on stand by in case Atlantiretain any irrepairable damage. This reminds me of the disaster of Coloumbia in 1993 which resulted in the loss of seven crew members on board which included Kalpana Chawla,an Indian-born aerospace engineer who was on her second space mission. She was the first Indian born woman to fly in space. 

Hubble has served scientists since 1990 and has given us profound understanding of the ever elusive universe by sending pictures which could never be captured by any gigantic terrestrial telescopes. Earth's atmosphere which is blessing to us does prevent telescopes from getting accurate images of the vast space and since there is no interference of atmosphere in space, space telescopes does a much better work in capturing and sending accurate images. As any other device, Hubble also needed maintainance from time to time. And after the Coloumbia disaster NASA has been seriously having second thoughts on manned missions to repair it. Also, sending a robot by the Canadian Space Agency was cancelled due to deficit in budget and also due to the fact that robots wont be able to do the high precision repairs which humans are able to do.

After the Atlantis repair, Hubble could well function beyond 2013 when another Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope comes into orbit!! During this mission the crew will also attach an equipment to Hubble which could assist NASA to deorbit the telescope when time is due for it. As nothing is permanent and all that is matter has a life cycle, Hubble too will perish leaving a splendid history of achievements and accolades behind!!