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Hubble's Advanced Camera Suspends Operations 113

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the burnout-revenge dept.
helio writes "The Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) went offline on June 19, 2006. The cause is yet undetermined, although engineers suspect that the culprit may be a bad transistor in the ACS's electronic control board or possibly a memory corruption event due to energetic particle bombardment. Since a backup electronic controller is available for service, this incident is not very likely to lead to the end of the Hubble's Advanced Camera in any event. But, before any attempt to reactivate the camera, engineers are cautiously evaluating and isolating the probable cause of this incident in order to avoid any further incident."
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Hubble's Advanced Camera Suspends Operations

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:32PM (#15598947) Homepage Journal
    Gee, too bad the Bush administration cancelled all maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope, dooming it to a slow death. Of course this whole science thing is overrated, right? In all honesty though, there simply is not enough money to take care of all of the costs given that the Bush administration wants to send men to Mars to the detriment of many, many science missions at NASA.

    • by 54mc (897170) <samuelmcraven@@@gmail...com> on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:42PM (#15598976)
      It seems were killing all the easy ways to learn/discover our universe. I can see why the president wants to put men on Mars. It creates a buzz. No one talks about the pictures the Hubble just took, but a man standing on another planet, now that's news!
      • by McBainLives (683602) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:33AM (#15599112)
        Don't take me wrong- I'm just as disappointed about the potential end of the Hubble as anyone else. But you might want to take manned exploration of the local neighborhood a bit more seriously. It's more than just hype (which in retrospect, was too big a part of Kennedy's proposal in the 1960's). A serious, long-term plan for returning to the Moon, then moving on to Mars, will do us a lot more good than studying events hundreds or thousands of light-years away (think survival- it never hurts to have a backup plan).

        Besides- once we have a permanent presence on the Moon, we'll be able to set up telescopes much more powerful and easy to maintain than Hubble ever was.
        • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday June 25, 2006 @01:23AM (#15599241) Homepage Journal
          I think you're absolutely right, about the value of manned space exploration, but I also think that right now NASA is dithering; they're not spending enough time and money on either the things that already work (e.g., Hubble) or on things that will only work if we put a ton of effort into them (e.g., a human return to the Moon, and then on to Mars.) Without a massive increase in their budget -- which I'd love to see, but I'm not holding my breath -- the current situation boils down to "jack of all trades, master of none."

          And yes, I think the White House is largely responsible for this situation. When Bush first started talking big about manned space flight, I honestly thought that this was the one thing he might do to turn his administration from an unqualified disaster into a major success; long after stupidities like the Iraq war have faded into history, a thriving human presence in space would be a great legacy. But nope, it was just election-year hype. As usual.
          • I think you're absolutely right, about the value of manned space exploration, but I also think that right now NASA is dithering; they're not spending enough time and money on either the things that already work (e.g., Hubble) or on things that will only work if we put a ton of effort into them (e.g., a human return to the Moon, and then on to Mars.)

            Imagine where things would be right now if they put even a miniscule portion of the money for the war on Iraq (currently almost $300 billion US) into NASA.

            • Or, better yet, education. Think of the benefit of increasing the general awareness and intelligence of the entire nation ... sure, the rewards would be further down the line, but im betting the results would be spectacular.
        • by UnrefinedLayman (185512) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @01:56AM (#15599325)
          Comments like this always blow my mind. It makes my brain throb like I just drank a milkshake. No one ever stops to hear themselves actually speak them and so apparently don't realize how mind-numbingly dumb they are (the words, not the people). I'm talking, of course, about this line:

          "Mars--the backup planet, the backup plan."

          Mars is one of the least hospitable and most difficult to reach places you could hope to find. Sure, Mars is probably the Club Med of all the other planets and satellites in the solar system but to believe truly that it is a sensible safe place to escape is nonsense. The least hospitable places on Earth are still way, way less lethal than Mars. That's right--lethal. Mars is not kind to even microbial life. We've come up with a lot of creative ways to peek around Mars looking for signs of it and the best we've found is the possibility that it was there but died a really, really long time ago. That's a nice big "No Trespassing" sign. Violators are killed on sight.

          Contrast with Earth, on whose worst day life still flourished. Believe it or not, there have been some pretty shitty days down here, like the Cambrian-Ordovician [wikipedia.org] extinction, the Ordovician-Silurian [wikipedia.org] extinction, the Permian-Triassic [wikipedia.org] extinction (80+% extinction in a million years, not bad), our favorite the Cretaceous-Paleogene [wikipedia.org] extinction, and our own Holocene [wikipedia.org] extinction. When the shit goes down on Earth it is still far, far more habitable than any extra-terrestrial location. Animal life requires other life if it wants to survive. Starting from scratch on a lifeless planet is much harder (and strikes me as much less sensible) than sticking around where life has clung with tenacity for the last 3.5 billion years.

          The exception to this would be a planetary catastrophe that left no room for doubt that Earth would be less habitable than Mars is now--that would result in the total loss of liquid water, the burn up of all atmospheric oxygen, the loss of the Earth's magnetic field, the death and extinction of all life (from microbes on up), and the tipping point of sunlight being blocked from reaching the ground. Following this it would have to be more difficult to use resources available to eke out survival on Earth than it would be to use resources to reach another planet and start anew there.

          One point that's often brought up is that if we start now we can have people living sustainably on Mars who could carry on without the need for Earth, thus preserving our human legacy. I'm of the belief that when we are sufficiently technologically advanced to achieve such a result that a planet-wide catastrophe will be easily weathered right here using that same technology.

          It's like the guy saying string theory [slashdot.org] is eating up valuable resources that could be used elsewhere and everyone else saying it's too fun to give up. Dreams of colonizing Mars and living out our Ray Bradbury fantasies are too fun to give up, but don't bandy about the idea that it's anything remotely serious. At least string theory has some sensible math to back it up; there's little that's sensible about martian life as the human-kind "backup plan."
          • Modded (-1, Killed Dreams)
          • No one's proposing that we attempt to breathe the atmosphere on Mars.

            It would be an interesting and valuable laerning exercise setting up a semi-independent colony on Mars. We need some nuclear powered rockets first.

          • Mars is one of the least hospitable and most difficult to reach places you could hope to find.
            Mars is the second most hospitable planet we know, after Earth. The only resource we don't know for sure that it has is uranium ore. The only really annoying thing is the giant long-duration dust storms.
            The least hospitable places on Earth are still way, way less lethal than Mars.
            Humans survive in Antarctica and the deep sea solely by means of a metric buttload of technology. Take it away and they die in seconds or minutes. Mars is different only in degree, not kind.
            Contrast with Earth, on whose worst day life still flourished. [big list of mass extinctions]
            If by "flourished" you mean "nearly all the big, elaborate organisms were snuffed out".
            We've come up with a lot of creative ways to peek around Mars looking for signs of it and the best we've found is the possibility that it was there but died a really, really long time ago. That's a nice big "No Trespassing" sign. Violators are killed on sight.
            No. We have done virtually no serious work on discovering Martian life (HPLC-tandem mass spec with chiral columns), and the conditions are within the known acceptable range for Earth-type microbes (sunlight, porous minerals, and temperature and pressure compatible with condensed-phase water).
            The exception to this would be a planetary catastrophe that left no room for doubt that Earth would be less habitable than Mars is now--that would result in the total loss of liquid water, the burn up of all atmospheric oxygen, the loss of the Earth's magnetic field, the death and extinction of all life (from microbes on up), and the tipping point of sunlight being blocked from reaching the ground.
            Don't be silly. You don't have to completely atomize Earth for the four horsemen to ride. A nice big asteroid coming in at 50 km/s and hitting a nice thick layer of limestone would likely make the human race go extinct. Being caught in a beam from a supernova or similar high-energy event would be very bad. Having some idiots set off a 20 stage thermonuclear bomb, just to see how far down the crust really goes, would give the human race a run for its money.
            ... there's little that's sensible about martian life as the human-kind "backup plan."
            Fuck sensible. It wasn't sensible for people to fill a grave every few yards on the deadly path between London and San Jose, but they did it anyway. Their equally unreasonable descendants will one day do it again, at enormous expense and personal risk.
            • Mars is the second most hospitable planet we know, after Earth.

              Well, Venus is closer, warmer and with a substantial atmosphere. Granted, it's a hell on traditional materials and space technology, but the atmosphere offers significant protection as well as a plentiful source for oxygen (carbon dioxide). On the downside is the weak magnetic field, but Mars offers nothing in that department either.

              It's easier to focus on Mars because the planet has been more thoroughly explored, and the lack of atmosphere me

              • I believe the great hope for Mars is that it may one day be terraformed. As I understand it, of all the planets here, Mars is the best chance of any terraforming pipe dream.
                • The hope of actually terraforming Mars is at best slim.

                  How will you fix the gravity (1/3 Earth standard, approximately)?

                  Where will you get the protective magnetic field, so that you don't get roasted next time Father Sun decides to blow his nose?

                  Where will you get the ozone layer to protect from UV?

                  Where will you get the rest of the atmosphere to provide additional protection?

                  It's only the latter two points that have -- and then only very vaguely with hand-waving regarding water, CO2 and O3 -- been covered
                  • I suggest you read any number of a "billion" articles available on the subject. Don't be confused with technological hope and a sure thing. Nonetheless, the answer I gave is the correct one. Long story short, various terraforming plans require anywhere from a century or two to a couple of millennium or two to complete. Many of them are fairly realistic; while some of the plans require some giant leap in technology. Like I said, go read about the subject before you bother to answer again. There's more
                    • May I ask you to re-read my posts -- both of the previous ones as well as this one -- and see if you can catch my thread of reasoning? I have read quite a few articles on the subject, and I remain unconvinced that Mars is "a great hope" as you like to call it.

                      It's a slim hope at the best of times, and the problems I've mentioned (or "questions") are fundamental to terraforming the planet.

                      Perhaps your attitude comes from a misunderstanding; when I write "terraforming", I'm writing about making the planet pe
                    • I assume you mean live in the open air as care free as we do on Earth versus simply living there in some type of habitat?
                    • BTW, your comment about gravity is the first I've ever heard is even worth consideration. What does it matter? No return trip for Marslings to Earth?
                    • Lower gravity increases the risk of skeletal damage, which is a well known problem, thanks to the space programs. Of course, this problem is far more significant on the Moon or in near zero gravity. There are other effects as well, but I'm not sure how significant those are at one third gravity.

                      Right now, skeletal damage a big enough hurdle just for getting the first batch of astronauts to Mars, but the solution sketches are sound; using centrifugal effect as artificial gravity, exercising regularly and get
                    • I've read that skeletal issues are only a concern for those that make the trip...not for those that would live there. So I do not believe it to be an issue. If it is, I've never read anything about it before; that is, specific to Mars.

                      I believe the intent is to have an "Earth-like" environment...mean we can grow crops and breath the air. Because of radiation, I do not believe the intent is to live under the open sky.

                      It seems you have uniquely redefined the term, "terrforming". Any environment which can
                    • I've read that skeletal issues are only a concern for those that make the trip...not for those that would live there.

                      I've read that skeletal issues are a concern for those making the trip, but I haven't read that it's a problem exclusive to the trip, as you imply.

                      Unfortunately, none of us can back up these claims with "hard" research, since there has been no long-term studies on the effects of a low gravity environment on the skeletal system; the current studies are about microgravity environments, which is

              • Well, Venus is closer, warmer and with a substantial atmosphere.

                If by "warmer" you mean "melts lead", yeah, it's warmer. Space probes can't survive on Venus. People definitely can't.

                But Venus's biggest problem is related: it doesn't rotate nearly fast enough.

                You want an ideal planet? Smack Mars into Venus. Unsurprisingly, that's how Earth started out.

                but a bonus point is that as an inner planet

                That's more of a downside: I don't think liquid water can survive on Venus already for any long period of time due
            • Mars is the second most hospitable planet we know, after Earth. The only resource we don't know for sure that it has is uranium ore. The only really annoying thing is the giant long-duration dust storms.

              But we know it doesn't have oxygen, liquid water, life, or an environment that would support industry. Like I said, Mars is the Club Med of other planets but on its best day and Earth's worst it's still a death trap compared to Earth.

              Humans survive in Antarctica and the deep sea solely by means of

            • Humans survive in Antarctica and the deep sea solely by means of a metric buttload of technology. Take it away and they die in seconds or minutes. Mars is different only in degree, not kind.

              Yes, survival in Antarctica is hard, but the equipment necessary to do it has been around for many decades. For the cost of getting 7 people into orbit for a week, we could build a REALLY nice hotel in Antarctica complete with indoor sauna and swimming pool. For the cost of getting 7 people to Mars, we could run that

          • by barawn (25691) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @11:26AM (#15600617) Homepage
            Starting from scratch on a lifeless planet is much harder (and strikes me as much less sensible) than sticking around where life has clung with tenacity for the last 3.5 billion years.

            Life does not equal humans. There are plenty of ways that life could stick around and still eradicate all humans. Or all human civilization. Either or, because without civilization, we're just another species waiting to be extinguished. And human civilization is really fragile.

            While it may seem less sensible, starting from scratch on another planet has several advantages.

            1. You control the environment. Unless you go full-bore terraforming (and then, if you do, see below) you're living in a meticulously controlled self-contained habitat. Anything goes wrong, and it's likely a hell of a lot easier to fix than on Earth. This sounds bizarre, but think about it: killer virus gets loose on Earth, and you're in huge trouble. Killer virus gets loose on a habitat-controlled Mars... and everyone suits up and you irradiate the hell out of the place. Being in a lethal environment has its advantages. The only things that live are the ones you want to.
            2. More resources. We're unfortunately a very resource-hungry organism, and Earth's only got so much. While the standard argument is "we're nowhere near close to running out" - what, you want to wait until we are?
            3. And finally, but probably most importantly, we're a very lazy organism. You think we'll bother figuring out how this ecosytem works on our own? Please. We're terrible at learning things unless there's pressure on us. "Another country might get to the moon!" "They might get the bomb!" Man. Throw those things at us, and we're freaking geniuses. We're better off living in a sucky environment. So even if we terraform the planet, we'd still be better off - we made it, so we'll understand it better than Earth.


            The third point is really the big one. Just look at our pathetic attempts at ecological engineering - they're jokes. We usually end up constantly screwing things up. But I wouldn't discount the second one, either: Mars has a pretty big advantage in terms of depth of its gravity well.

            Plus, from a very practical standpoint, you could also think of it as the start of interplanetary zoning laws. It'd be real nice to offload really crappy industry to Mars, after all.
            • Life does not equal humans. There are plenty of ways that life could stick around and still eradicate all humans. Or all human civilization. Either or, because without civilization, we're just another species waiting to be extinguished. And human civilization is really fragile.

              But humans require life to exist. This is a point I made which you chose to overlook. Animals require other life to exist and when faced with the option of a) hang around where life exists even through extreme protracted period

              • But humans require life to exist. This is a point I made which you chose to overlook.

                I didn't overlook it. We're also the only organism capable of establishing new life in an area. We tried once already, halfheartedly, with Biosphere 2. It was a failure because, well, there wasn't any incentive for the scientists. It was a PR deal, and it failed. Think a scientist will work like crazy to fix a giant PR move? Not likely. Think a scientist will work like crazy to fix a habitat supporting him? Yes.

                You also hav
        • For an immediate hubble replacement, the moon is not a better option. Until the moon has facilities to manufacture big mirrors, reliable computers, and delicate cameras, it is easier to launch a telescope from earth into a low orbit. Probably an entire university on the moon would be needed to provide training for the astronauts who would do the repairs. Only so much can be explained over radio. Particularly with a 3 second latency enforced by the speed of light. But in the long run, I agree that the m
        • I'm not sure I understand the logic that "it won't do us good" to study events hundreds or millions of light years away. By the same logic, why would it do us good to study the Moon, the Sun or Mars? They're pretty gosh-darned far away -- especially by boat. Nor do I understand the big jones for a "manned" trip to the moon or Mars (howbout the Sun?). If robots and remote analytical gadgets can gather the same or more scientific data as humans more quickly and at a remote fraction of the cost, why is this n
        • Ground (Earth) based telescopes are almost (if not better) than Hubble in certain wavelengths due to fairly recent technologies. The key ones being Adaptive Optics and Interferometry, which have allowed for astronomers to compensate/eradicate most of the problems associated with the atmosphere. 10 years ago these technologies were mostly theory, and 20 years ago there was no-one that would take the ideas seriously. We really have come a long way since Hubble was on the dtrawing board, and I don't think w
        • So the idea here is that since modern man has perverted and screwed up everything on his own planet, he might as well go and repeat the process on another? Also given our history with other men with different features and skin colour - I'd hate to see what would happen if we met any alien life.

          I think "look, don't touch" is better for now.
      • You are kidding, right? The Hubble has recieved plenty of publicity, thats why there is all this controversy over letting it go (long after it has lived out its intended lifespan) even though NASA has determined their research could be better served by using the money it would require to keep Hubble operating elsewhere, such as with the James Webb telescope.

        And the reason the maintenance was cancelled isn't because Bush didn't like science class in high school, its because (in case you don't read the new

      • No one talks about the pictures the Hubble just took, but a man standing on another planet, now that's news!

        Ummm... that's just wrong. Do you have any idea how many papers have been written citing Hubble data and how many discoveries it has made!?

        There are people talking about Hubble data all the time and will continue to do so long into the future.
      • No one talks about the pictures the Hubble just took...

        That's why I have this [nasa.gov] on my personalized Google. Granted they're not all Hubble images, but there's certainly a significant number of photos [hubblesite.org] for your perusal.

      • If you guys weren't blowing so much money on the war against "terror" in various middle-eastern countries, you could do both.

        With any luck, other nations will fill this vacuum.
    • by amabbi (570009) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:24AM (#15599081)
      Gee, too bad the Bush administration cancelled all maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope, dooming it to a slow death.

      Hubble servicing project (tentatively STS-125) scheduled for 2008, as per Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

      But don't let that get in the way of your ignorant, uninformed, nonsensical political rant.

      • by BWJones (18351) * on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:37AM (#15599119) Homepage Journal
        Hubble servicing project (tentatively STS-125) scheduled for 2008, as per Wikipedia.

        That reference came from a Washington Post article in April, 2005. Since that time, NASA has had their budget cut for almost all science missions that have nothing to do with putting man on Mars.

        But don't let that get in the way of your ignorant, uninformed, nonsensical political rant.

        There was nothing in my post that was not factually based. The reality is that given the budget management of the nation, there is simply not enough money to do basic science missions if we send people to Mars.

        • by cyclone96 (129449) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @01:06AM (#15599202)
          NASA has been reallocating a lot of funding from science and aeronautics to "exploration". The official goal is a manned moon landing (by 2018).

          That being said, the Hubble servicing mission is still in the cards and long lead work is being performed to support it. It's almost certain it will be flown. In fact, the NASA web page for servicing mission 4 [nasa.gov] was updated just a little over a week ago.
          • From your linked website: If SM4 becomes a reality, EVA astronauts would perform a number of tasks not only to keep Hubble operational until at least 2013, but to expand greatly the scientific power of the telescope.

            It is my understanding that funding for this mission is in doubt. The White House already cut funding for this servicing mission once back in 2005 and NASA was able to find the impetus to recover, but with the current NASA budget, I am being told by friends at JPL that it is not looking good.
            • Well, for what it is worth you can consider me a friend from JSC. While the mission isn't "officially" on, it's considered to be almost certain around here. I'm not sure about the White House, but congressional pressure to fly this mission is considerable.

              Ironically enough, the Constellation program manager (Jeff Hanley) cut his teeth on Hubble as a Payloads officer in Mission Control. When the original SM4 mission was cancelled, he posted this [google.com]
              to sci.astro.hubble.
      • A schedule carefully chosen to make sure you have a new president in office by the time it happens?
        • A schedule carefully chosen to make sure you have a new president in office by the time it happens?

          OK, how do you think having a different president in office at the time of this mission is going to benefit Bush? You make cute little statement as if someone has something to seriously lose or gain by who's in office at the time of the mission. Now it would be interesting if you could back this up with more than just blind bashing lip service.
          • OK, how do you think having a different president in office at the time of this mission is going to benefit Bush?

            We're not talkiing about benefitting Bush.

            Different people in power = different spending priorities. Perhaps the next president will spend more on Hubble. If not, well, a mission can still be cancelled.
            • Different people in power = different spending priorities. Perhaps the next president will spend more on Hubble. If not, well, a mission can still be cancelled.

              You've never really been involved in the budgeting and project planning of a large organization or you'd be embarrassed to say anything like this.

              Not to mention the fact that it will be a Bush budget still in effect during the 2008 year.

              And also to not mention the fact that in all truth the NASA budget [wikipedia.org] hasn't suffered a bit under Bush.
        • In 2008? You might want to count again (ues a calculator if 2008 is too big of a number for you to divide by in your head). Bush will still be president unless something happens to him, in which case Cheney will be president. In November of 2008 we will have a new election, and the winner of that election will take office in 2009.
          • Hey, it's not my country, I have no idea at what time of the year you guys hold your elections.
            • Yeah, you also have no idea about how the political system works over here. The Hubble maintenance was delayed because of saftey issues regarding the shuttle (currently our only manned space vehicle), and NASA is considering letting it die because they feel their funding (NASA, like everyone else, is forced to work on a limited budget) could better serve science by going to other projects. It has nothing to do with who is in the White House.
      • But don't let that get in the way of your ignorant, uninformed, nonsensical political rant.



        Hey- this place wouldn't be the same without uninformed, nonsensical political rants! Don't scare him off! I need this place- I can't bring myself to go back to Doonesbury...
      • Hubble servicing project (tentatively STS-125) scheduled for 2008, as per Wikipedia.
        But don't let that get in the way of your ignorant, uninformed, nonsensical political rant.

        Budget cuts and safety concerns were the reasons given for cancellation of the 2006 repair mission, and any future such missions are currently speculative possibilities "under consideration." http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/future/ [hubblesite.org] has more on this, as does http://hubble.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov].

        But don't let actual facts get in the

    • You know what I think is insane? Bush can go up to the podium and say he wants people put on Mars, yet he probably doesn't know jack shit about the space program. And of course, people are going to listen to him because he's the president, and blah blah blah. It's like this with so many things. But, let's all pause a moment to remember that Bush is the DECIDER! He said that the people who want us to draw troops from Iraq have reasonable concerns but that they are "wrong" and of course, he is "right".
    • by twiddlingbits (707452) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @08:46AM (#15600180)
      I worked on the upgrades for the HST (i.e. SM4 - Service Mission Four). They were cancelled in favor of spending more $$$ on STS (Shuttle) and mostly ISS( Station). The pressure was on to finish ISS which really meant the money was going to the Russians who promptly wasted 90% of it.

      IIRC NASA actually budgeted all three but only two got funds. Then when funding was restored for SM4 a few years later, we had all the problems with STS which all of a sudden meant going to Hubble was "unsafe". We knew the HST was slowly dying and that we only had 2 out of 4 gyros (not same problem as this article) that were good and one more that was "flaky". If we lost one of the good gyros we could rework the software to account for the flakiness of the 3rd gyro, but lose two and HST shuts down as you no longer have attitude control to point the instruments. The bad thing was all of these gyros came from the same batch from the same company. An earlier service mission had replaced two bad ones that failed earlier but the new ones themselves are now failing. Last caclulations I recall the HST might make it to sometime in 2009 or early 2010 before it fails, but that was under "nominal" conditions.

      It was NOT GWB's fault, the decisons were made by Congress not wanting to fund NASA to the level where they could do all three, HST, STS, and ISS. Remember ALL spending Bills MUST orginate in the House of Representatives, then be approved by both houses of Congress and the President. It also doesn't help that NASA's budget gets lumped into bills that fund other things like HUD and Veterans so it often gets short shafted as we can't spend LESS money on Social project or Veteran's benefits so we can so space.
      • I worked on the upgrades for the HST (i.e. SM4 - Service Mission Four). They were cancelled in favor of spending more $$$ on STS (Shuttle) and mostly ISS( Station). The pressure was on to finish ISS which really meant the money was going to the Russians who promptly wasted 90% of it.

        500 million a pop (last report, probably much higher today)to shoot off a shuttle, and even then, you guys rarely get around to actually doing it, to busy spending money on who knows what. Then you want to accuse the Russia

      • It was NOT GWB's fault,

        You're joking, right? The money W is wasting in Iraq could fund libraries, schools, roads, the ISS, STS, HST and still have plenty left over for a nice party. It is most certainly W's fault that he decided to start an expensive war that was not needed.

    • Maybe this is like my 1973 Pinto. I'll only put so much in to it because I know it's going to be replaced.

      See - http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

    • I hate to pull a "me too" but considering your post got marked as flamebait, I feel that you are 100% correct.

      Good thing Hubble's got a lot of spare gyros too.

      Oh, wait.

      It's a travesty since scientific discoveries are one of the reasons how society advances.

    • Gee, too bad the Bush administration cancelled all maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope, dooming it to a slow death.

      The Hubble Project site says differently [nasa.gov].

      Of course this whole science thing is overrated, right? In all honesty though, there simply is not enough money to take care of all of the costs given that the Bush administration wants to send men to Mars to the detriment of many, many science missions at NASA.

      Hubble is in the 16th year of a 10 year mission. It replacement, the James Webb Te [nasa.gov]

  • So did they cut the Hubble from future NASA plans?

    I recall they cut it, brought it back, wanted to cut it again...

    I don't remember how the story ended.

    Either way, the Hubble isn't getting any repair flights in 2006.
    • Re:Funding (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:54PM (#15599001) Homepage Journal
      Hubble always had a limited life span, and with the loss of two shuttles, we have to look at prioritizing, especially with the requirement for the astronaughts to be able to evacutate to the ISS if the shuttle is unable to land.

      Personally, I'd be working more towards launching a replacement for the Hubble. Ground based telescopes have caught up in many ways with adaptive lense technologies, but the hubble works much better in the infrared from what I understand. Design the replacement more towards making up the shortfalls of ground based telescopes.

      Given the cost of a dedicated shuttle maintenance mission, it might even be cheaper to just launch new ones, especially if you make a series of them, allowing you to spread R&D costs between multiple sats.
      • Re:Funding (Score:5, Informative)

        by helioquake (841463) * on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:20AM (#15599072) Journal
        ...but the hubble works much better in the infrared from what I understand....

        No, no, no!

        [I'm banging my head on the desk right now, because of you...]

        The Hubble Space Telescope, by design is a telescope designed to observe the Universe in ultra-violet (UV) waveband. Its mirror gerates the finest point image at 2800Angstrom, and the image rapidly degrades at a longer wavelength (esp. IR). It's Daniel Goldin and his stupid minions who successfully sold the idea that the HST would be a great IR telescope (to detect planets, which were the hot topic to sell to the congress for funding).

        You can do most of IR observations from the ground. Even the imaging quality ain't too bad from the ground, either. The best part of doing IR in space is the gain in sensitivity (the atmosphere isn't exactly dark in IR; also it absorbs some water molecule wavebands). But then, there is Spitzer telescope for IR space astronomy today. You don't need the Hubble to do that.

        On the other hand, you can't do UV astronomy from the ground. The air is opaque to UV light.
        • I'd like to point out to myself that

          (1) I can't spell in a hurry,

          (2) Daniel Goldin may not be the first moron to promote the use of the Hubble in IR.
        • Re:Funding (Score:1, Flamebait)

          On the other hand, you can't do UV astronomy from the ground. The air is opaque to UV light.
          Ah, so what you're saying is we need to thin out the air a bit, in fact just get rid of it.

          I can see the War on Air now: "Muslims, Mr. President. Our top scientists have determined that Muslims need air." "There's only one thing to do then ..."

        • Sorry, I was writing purely from memory, but the fact still remains that there are chunks of spectrum that, because of either contamination or absorbtion that aren't as useful on the earth, and given the cost of launching satellites, we might as well concentrate on having them do the things that they're advantaged at.
    • Re:Funding (Score:5, Informative)

      by cyclone96 (129449) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:02AM (#15599029)
      I work for NASA on the manned programs.

      Officially, Sean O'Keefe (the former NASA admistrator) dropped the last Hubble servicing mission from the Space Shuttle manifest because of the risk involved (Hubble was the only non-ISS mission left, leaving no option to fix the orbiter with the help of ISS assets or possibly "holing up" in the ISS while a rescue mission was processed). I'm really oversimplifying it, but essentially that's the reason.

      Of course, I'm fairly certain Sean O'Keefe was the only individual within NASA that thought this was too great of a risk. That includes the astronauts who would actually strap themselves to the orbiter stack. Everyone at NASA loves Hubble. O'Keefe may have been playing politics to get Congress to "order" the mission, thus relieving NASA of the risk decision.

      O'Keefe is gone now, however, and the new administrator (Mike Griffin) has been more or less been in favor of servicing Hubble again.

      Anyways, while the flight isn't officially on the books it's more or less common knowledge around here there is going to be a servicing mission in 2008 or so. Long lead work is being done on the flight. As long as something drastic doesn't happen to the shuttle program that causes it to shut down, that mission is going to be flown. Hubble is NASA's crown jewel.

      • On the one hand, NASA must play politics and say what will keep the public and thier representatives happy. OTOH, it is nice when NASA just tells it like it is. I would think that any reasonable person would be reluctant to make any predictions about what can and cannot happen with the manned space program given present data. It seems to me that such questions will be answered in July when we see what the foam does.

        We have three space shuttles, all have flown over 20 missions, and are much over 10 year

        • A spacecraft is only useful when it's in space. While certainly the lives of the astronauts are more important that the Hubble, assuming we could get the astronauts home safely if the orbiter couldn't make it back, I say fix the Hubble.
      • Oiy!

        Maybe you can answer a question of mine then!

        How are the engineers able to make further evaluations on the break down or even isolate the problem to a couple failed components?

        Personally, I find that part the most fascinating as I generally have to look at a component to know what has failed. Unless of course, I knew that X part was a POS and I shouldn't have used it. (though in the past I have known a component was going to eventually fail due to physical inspection or odd readings, but I was lazy and
      • Re:Funding (Score:5, Informative)

        by Quantum Fizz (860218) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @05:26AM (#15599789)
        A few other factors.

        O'Keefe was NOT a scientist, but a business-track administrator, and as such didn't have an intimate understanding of the import of science as a full-blooded scientist does. In other words, he looked at the Hubble telescope as a business project, not as a scientific instrument. Luckily Griffin is completely opposite, he was a scientist and worked his way from science through science management, so has an understanding of both fields pretty well.

        Additionally, Columbia was lost on O'Keefe's watch, so he's overcompensating by being excessively cautious for future flights. Unfortunately to the point of compromising scientific fulfillment.

  • More links (Score:5, Informative)

    by helioquake (841463) * on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:36PM (#15598963) Journal
    Here is another link that may be worthy of checking:

    Space.com [space.com] article.

    And the original statement from Space Telescope Science Institute (this was edited out by the editor...not that I mind being edited, btw):

    STScI Anomaly Report [stsci.edu]

    • Re:More links (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MustardMan (52102)
      So let me get this straight...

      The 'editors' at slashdot refuse to correct misspellings, typos, and grossly inaccurate statements.

      Put in an informative link, though, and they are ALL ABOUT removing that shit.
      • I believe my original post was too wordy (I thought it might, but I left it to the editors to trim down).

        Some editors do corrections; others don't. I don't see any serious problem with that. This is, after all, slashdot. It ain't NY times.
  • Budget Cuts (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe cutting costs by using a disposeable camera wasn't such a good ideas, huh?
  • Hmmmm.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by electronmaster (926497) on Saturday June 24, 2006 @11:57PM (#15599011) Homepage
    Shoulda bought the warranty. I'm a camera salesman, I know.
    • "Our replacement plan covers any manufacturing defect, of course, but you're required to bring the broken item back to the store."

  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by Itninja (937614) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:27AM (#15599094) Homepage
    "At this point, the ACS is in a safe configuration, and further analysis is ongoing,"

    Your computer is currently running in safe mode. Some functions may be unavailable.
    Looks like it's time to do a wipe and reinstall the Hubble. It's probably just spyware anyway...
  • Is there such a thing as non-energetic particle bombardment?
  • Place your bets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227) on Sunday June 25, 2006 @12:33AM (#15599111) Homepage
    But, before any attempt to reactivate the camera, engineers are cautiously evaluating and isolating the probable cause of this incident in order to avoid any further incident.

    That's fancy talk for "Placing bets on what's going to break next".
    • Re:Place your bets (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      That's fancy talk for "Placing bets on what's going to break next if they do something stupid".

      Fixed that for you.

      In a sense, they are placing bets, but whatever course(s) of action has the highest probability of causing failures... they aren't gonna do it.

      After all, the engineers have nothing to lose if they spend a month trouble shooting every possible failure scenario.
      • Hubble, launched in April 1990, needs new batteries and gyroscopes if it is to keep working beyond next year.

        Like I said, Placing bets on what's going to break next.
        The thing's cool & all, but nothing can last forever, & jerry-rigging it only works for soo long.
  • ...is that ALIENS have STOLEN our camera jamming technology!!
  • Another website, USA-Today I think, had a headline that somehow stood out much much quicker. Compare:

    Here: "Hubble's Advanced Camera Suspends Operations"

    There: "Hubble Blind!"

    Now I know why they don't let nerds write ad copy :-)
         
    • Now I know why they don't let nerds write ad copy :-)

      You know why I didn't choose to use the word "blind"?

      Because it still has the WFPC2 Camera. It's old and somewhat busted, but it still works. FGS works, too, if the interferometer tickles your fansy. Does NICMOS still work that well, I wonder?
      • Duly noted,

        "FGS works, too, if the interferometer tickles your fansy . Does NICMOS still work that well, I wonder?"

        and, while I can resist (but only just) the temptation to ask about having your your fansy tickled by an interferometer , I feel I should console you. I can find no better form of consolation than something that has already appeared in this discussion "Don't worry, we can always fall back on America's lead in grammar and spelling." And ask you to notice that I resisted the temptat

  • They say they can fix the problem from the ground with back ups but if it was a cosmic event the triggered it to go offline then you can bet they will have to go back up there to replace the parts, since more than likely everything would be fried. They will stall as long as possible before they NASA will request the additional funds to go there since there are several budget meetings being held right now in the Congress and Senate.
  • Guess what, I used my ultra telescope and checked the parts and its says:
    Made in China
  • Hubble Computer: Just a moment...just a moment...I've just picked up a fault in the ACS camera unit. It's going to go a hundred percent failure within 72 hours.
    NASA: Is it still within operational limits right now?
    Hubble Computer: Yes, and it will stay that way until it fails.
    NASA: Would you say we have a reliable 72 hours to failure?
    Hubble Computer: Yes, that's a completely reliable figure.
    NASA: Well, then I suppose we'll have to bring it in, but first I'd like to go over this with Mission Control. Le
  • Hubble Origins Probe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bhima (46039) <Bhima.Pandava@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday June 25, 2006 @04:58AM (#15599739) Journal
    This would be nearly a non-issue if the powers that be had gotten off their asses and funded and built the Hubble Origins Probe.

    This failure is one of many that show that America is loosing the capability of space flight and research.

    From their website (http://www.pha.jhu.edu/hop/):

    The Hubble Origins Probe (HOP) is a proposed 2.4 meter free flying space telescope.The HOP concept is to replicate the design of the Hubble Space Telescope with a much lighter unaberrated mirror and optical telescope assembly, enabling a rapid path to launch, significant cost savings and risk mitigation. HOP will fly the instruments originally planned for the 4th HST servicing mission as well as a new very wide field imager, enhancing the original science mission of Hubble.

  • I wonder if Hubble was shut down because it saw something that it wasn't meant to see? Let me guess they will be successful in getting the backup systems working once whatever that is up there has passed or gone public! Well I said it was a conspiracy theory :-)
  • Karl Rove had the NSA upload H5N1 virus to it, because it was on the brink of finding scientific proof of global warming, the nonexistence of God, and the morality of same-sex marriage.
  • Is the Hubble so valuable to the world that it's worth risking the lives of astronauts to fix? Or is it really a PR machine for NASA and a tool for grad students to get a PhD? What's the big deal? Is anything going to happen in the few years it takes to justify, fund, build a launch a new telescope that ground based system can't handle?

    Honestly, what's the rush? How did we manage without it?

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