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NASA Space Science

NASA Unveils Hubble's Successor 188

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the new-and-improved dept.
dalutong writes "BBC News has an article detailing NASA's replacement for the much-loved Hubble telescope. The $4.5 billion telescope will be placed in orbit 1.5 million km from Earth and will be almost three times the size of the Hubble. It is set to launch in 2013. They also plan to service the Hubble in 2008."
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NASA Unveils Hubble's Successor

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  • Re:Haha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric@broDEBIANuhaha.com minus distro> on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:04AM (#19079185) Homepage Journal
    Why are you spending money to have an internet connection, when you could give the money to people starving on this planet? Do you know what that money could buy for some poor people?
  • Re:Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fweeky (41046) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:22AM (#19079307) Homepage
    "Now they intend to do it, but with a backup shuttle in orbit in case the first one gets into trouble."

    That would be retarded; the most dangerous phases of the mission are launch and reentry, with a significantly lower risk of something going wrong while in orbit; something likely to either be so terrible you can't do anything or managable enough that you have a good long while to worry about it (e.g one of the tiles gets damaged at launch and you can't reenter safely, ala Columbia).

    So no, it won't be in orbit, the backup shuttle will simply be ready to launch if needed.
  • Re:Haha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:00AM (#19079471)
    If the political will to feed the starving was here, we could do so and still put up the telescope. We spend the cost of the telescope a year on farm subsidies to prevent farmers from growing more crops. But the powers that be don't really give a shit.
  • by SnowZero (92219) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:25AM (#19079579)
    Or use only SI units, and yet crash it into Mars anyway.
  • Why not build two? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syncrotic (828809) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:03AM (#19080013)
    Something I've always wondered... how do the R&D costs compare to construction, testing, and launch of a satellite, or in this case, a space telescope? Wouldn't R&D be the hard part here, making the marginal cost of each additional spacecraft relatively small in comparison to the upfront cost?

    It's my understanding that there's a substantial waiting list to use Hubble, and that a lot of very good research can't get done because telescope time is so limited. Time on JWST will probably be similarly limited... if we've spent $3.5B on this thing so far, why not put an extra $250M into it and get twice the benefit?

    Any experts care to weigh in?

  • What's in a name? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by backwardMechanic (959818) on Friday May 11, 2007 @05:38AM (#19080449) Homepage
    The last fancy telescope was named after an astrophysicist who made a significant contribution to our understanding of the universe, using the red shift to prove that the universe is indeed expanding, now commonly known as Hubble's law. The new telescope is named after an administrator. An important job, and done very well by the sounds of it, but it's not super-science. Am I the only one who sees the difference between running an agency and advancing the body of scientific knowledge? In 100 years time (heck, even today) who's name will we know?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Hubble [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Edwin_Webb [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2007 @05:43AM (#19080457)
    I'm not an expert but I'm guessing this happened/will happen:
    1995 - NASA scientists: We want a new space telescope, plz plx plz???
    2000 - NASA engineers: We have finished the design, it will cost $X.
    2005 - NASA management: Sweet. Let's build it!
    2010 - NASA project team: We need another $X to complete it (sorry...).
    2011 - NASA management: Alright then, let's scrap some of our other projects. Here's ur $X. NOW DONT ASK FOR MORE!!!!11
    2012 - NASA project team: We need another $X to really really complete and launch it. Come on! We can't give up now.
    2013 - NASA management: That's it. The project is on hold. Actually it's more like, scrapped. Sorry guys!
    2014 - NASA management: Our bad, it's foolish to not complete it after spending $2X already! Here's another $X. Better not ask for more tho!
    2015 - NASA management: Launch it or lose it guys.
    2015 - NASA project team: But it's not fully tested. And the new guys that we hired have used imperial units all over their code, we have to clean it up and re-run all test... :(
    2016 - NASA management: Launch it NOW. And get the hell out of OUR workshop. We need to use it for other projects. And you're over budget again! Wrap it up ASAP before the politicians have to close all of NASA!! :(
    2017 - The telescope launches and malfunctions.
    2018 - NASA starts a robotic project to repair the telescope at a cost of $X.
    2021 - The telescope becomes fully operational at a total cost of $5X.
    2022 - NASA project team: Why don't we build another one using the same blueprints?
    2022 - NASA managment: Yeaaah. Suuuure. Didn't you guys hear that we have unlimited funding? Why don't we build 10 telescopes! Or any nice round number.
  • by Steve Hosgood (152793) on Friday May 11, 2007 @08:23AM (#19081205) Homepage
    I'll avoid the tired old metric vs. american measurement arguments because (for once) this article referred to the telescope's distance from earth in metric from the start. But hey! Please can slashdot post articles with sensible SI prefixes in future?

    The telescope's going to be appx. 1.5Gm from earth. Much easier to keep track of distances in the solar system using Gm and Tm. (The moon is appx 0.4Gm from earth, earth is appx. 150Gm from the sun, etc etc).

    "Million Kilometres" is silly. No-one talks of "million kilobyte" hard-drives do they?
  • Name a scientist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Friday May 11, 2007 @08:50AM (#19081397) Homepage

    It looks like James Webb was administor from 1961 to 1968, some very important years in spaceflight I'd say. The last moon walk was taken a year before I was born, so I don't have any direct experience with that era of space exploration. But I'm still amazed at how fast NASA moved from launching a satellite into orbit to putting men on the fricking moon and bringing them back safely. I wouldn't be surprised if this were in large part due to good leadership without which those accomplishments would have happened much slower and less successfully.

    And if you want to name the telescope after a scientist, who are you going to choose? Many of the big names from centuries past are already taken: Galileo, Magellan, Ulysses. I don't know whether we've named any probes after Einstein or Newton, but they don't have all that much to do with JWST's mission. Are there other suitable scientists/explorers from the past? You can't really choose a living scientist -- for one thing modern science is produced much more by teams than by individual researchers. Maybe an administrator is an appropriate choice after all.

    AlpineR

  • by JD-1027 (726234) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:13PM (#19084663)
    Unfortunately, bitch-slapping is the preferred type correction to a post containing errors on Slashdot.

    It would be nice if a post correcting someone's misknowledge could be done with civility instead of the first line being "Complete Bullshit".

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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