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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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  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:20AM (#19078919)
    ... who's going to fix it????
    • by rossdee (243626) * on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:30AM (#19078981)
      Its going to be nearly a million miles away, so its out of reach for any repair mission (for the forseable future anyway.)
      • by quinspr70c0l (1089355) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:51AM (#19079713)
        I recall that the Orion program which is currently under development will have the capability to do the job. It is slated to replace the shuttle and also have the ability to reach the moon. One of the goals was to be able to do a service mission of the JWT far far away. More info here. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/ma in/index.html/ [nasa.gov]
        • by hey! (33014)

          I recall that the Orion program which is currently under development will have the capability to do the job.

          That's an interesting question though. From what I can see, the Orion vehicle is basically a larger and more modern version of the old Apollo vehicles. Although larger in crew carrying capcity, its going to be very cramped living in that space. You'll need to launch a second cargo vehicle rand rendezvous with it, unless the repairs can be done with a portable toolkit and without the benefit of th

      • I'm sure I remember reading about how newer ground-based telescopes with adaptive optics were better than space telescopes and a fraction of the cost...

        Yet here we are spending billions on servicing Hubble and launching $5 billion objects into space.

        • by rbanffy (584143) on Friday May 11, 2007 @06:02AM (#19080533) Homepage Journal
          Ground based telescopes are good only for light that is not filtered by the atmosphere. There is a whole lot of spectrum outside it. The JWST targets the infra-red wavelengths, which would be much harder to do with an atmosphere above it
          • by Himring (646324)
            Okay, so dumb question time: why not build a ground-based telescope on the moon? I suppose it would need to be on the dark side? Seriously, I would like to have an intelligent response to this....
            • by MBGMorden (803437)
              There is no "dark side" of the moon, only a side that never faces Earth. Both sides get their fair share of sunlight during the Lunar day (about 29 earth days, about half of that time of which would be spent in sunlight regardless of which side you're on). Putting the telescope on the "opposite" side though would be very bad. For it to receive radio communications some type of repeater would be necessary, otherwise you're never in LOS with Earth to send back or receive signals. It'd be far more efficient
            • The dark side of moon still gets sunlight. The moon is tidal locked with the Earth so we always see the same side of the moon but that does not mean that the part we can't see isn't still receiving sunlight.

              And of course we could put a telescope on the moon. But that's a lot more work then just putting something into orbit. Putting something in orbit removes the whole part of dealing with a landing and unloading and setting up of the telescope.

              Plus, while in orbit as mentioned you can keep something in
            • by BDew (202321)
              A number of reasons:

              The biggest drawback is dust. We just don't know how lunar dust would behave, or how it would affect the optics. Also, the cost of constructing anything on the moon is quite high, higher even than for a free-flying space mission. Another problem is that it reduces observation time - in space you can pretty much point anywhere except at the sun. On the lunar surface, you have the moon in the way of half the sky or more at any given time - and there is no "dark" side, just the far side
              • by Himring (646324)
                Nice replies. I do understand that the "dark side" of the moon gets sunlight. I suppose I was using an idiomatic expression which shouldn't require explanation. And/or I've listened to too much floyd....
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by yourlord (473099)
              Because the moon orbits the Earth and therefore can't focus on a single point in space for long periods due to the Earth obscuring the view (a fault with the Hubble as well). The JWST can gather light from a single point, uninterrupted, for months if desired. There are other reasons as well, but this one alone is enough of a deal killer.
        • In addition to what the poster above me says about the atmosphere and spectrum of light, I'd like to point out...

          $5 Billion dollars DOES seem like a lot. But look at the U.S. Budget in the last decade. Look at the money we've essentially THROWN AWAY. By comparison, $5 billion for an advancement of science seems rather reasonable, or at the very least, reasonable by comparison.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cplusplus (782679)
            The average cost of each war the US engages in ends up being around $600 billion (after adjusting each one for inflation). We'll just have to complete the next war in 119/120ths of the time and the cost of the new telescope is covered :)
    • by kimvette (919543)
      You mean when they send it up with a faulty mirror?
    • by PeelBoy (34769)
      Stretch Armstrong
  • Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:21AM (#19078929) Homepage Journal
    Although it will see further than Hubble, JWST will see infrared, so that we still need Hubble for the visible and ultraviolet.

    An servicing the Hubble is judged to be so risky that NASA originally did not plan to do it. Now they intend to do it, but with a backup shuttle in orbit in case the first one gets into trouble.
    • by timeOday (582209)

      Although it will see further than Hubble, JWST will see infrared, so that we still need Hubble for the visible and ultraviolet.
      What range of infrared? Infrared is right next to visible on the spectrum, so it's not as if it's a radio telescope.
      • Re:Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Informative)

        by Agent Orange (34692) <christhom@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:01AM (#19079169)
        JWST will provide diffraction-limited images at 2 micron. It will have imaging and spectrographic capabilities in the near and mid-IR -- everything from 6000AA out to 27micron with the mid-IR imager and spectrograph (MIRI). StSci has a JWST primer online here [stsci.edu] (pdf link).
      • Re:Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Informative)

        by mdsolar (1045926) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:21AM (#19079297) Homepage Journal
        The imaging will be near infrared with particular capability near 2 microns, but the 5 micron capability is alos of interest. There is also a smaller camera working from 5 to 27 microns. This is mid-infrared. The resolution of this instrument will not be so good because of the longer wavelength. The Keck Telescope can get better image quality. But what it will have is spectroscopic capability and much greater sensitivity. We've gotten quite alot of milage out of the much smaller Spitzer Space Telescope using it's 5--30 micron spectrograph. This new instrument should really open things up, allowing us to analyse stars in galaxies as they were when the universe was 12 billion years younger. All telescopes can be considered time machines, but this one is made to see some of the very first stars. You can read more about it here: http://www.stsci.edu/jwst/instruments/ [stsci.edu].
        --
        Rent solar power: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
        • by TopSpin (753) *
          IANAA, rather a laymen at best. However JWST is hardly news; anyone that bothers to browse nasa.gov knows about it. As a result I have also wondered about the choice of wavelength for this instrument.

          The resolution of this instrument will not be so good because of the longer wavelength.

          I don't want to hear that. Don't misunderstand; I don't begrudge a single dime spent on it. I take it on faith that those who know best are building something incredible. Analysis of the early universe is crucial to cosmology. I get it.

          The high-resolution "pretty pictures" aspect of Hubble means a lot.

          • Re:Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Friday May 11, 2007 @06:24AM (#19080627)

            If all the money and drama of NASA produced nothing but Hubble it has been worth it. NASA is billing JWST as Hubble's replacement. Is it? Really? Honestly?
            You know, to me, NASA could do nothing but produce obscure scientific data that I would never comprehend, but I'd still support them spending my tax dollars more than the fuckers who waste my money on war. $4.5 billion for a precision scientific instrument is money well spent. $4.5 billion for waging war and murdering your fellow human beings is absolutely criminal.
          • by mdsolar (1045926)

            I don't want to hear that. Don't misunderstand; I don't begrudge a single dime spent on it. I take it on faith that those who know best are building something incredible. Analysis of the early universe is crucial to cosmology. I get it.

            There are two things happening here: The first is that the angular resolution of a telescope depends on the wavelegth. The longer the wavelength, the lower the resolution. JWST is about four times larger than Hubble but it is optimized for a wavelength that is 4 times long

        • by ecliptik (160746)

          All telescopes can be considered time machines

          I was thinking about this the other day, if we ever are able to travel to a point in space thousands of light years away from Earth it would be interesting to turn something like this back on our own planet and see into its past.

          If we have sophisticated enough technology to get that far away I'm sure they'll be a telescope powerful enough to witness actual events as they unfold on the surface.

          • by mdsolar (1045926)
            You'd have to take time to travel to that distance so the advantage is erased. I am interested in incredibly large telescopes, which is what you'd need to get that kind of detail. I've begun to wonder of the combined power production data from many solar power systems might be used to study the Sun in more detail, especially helioseismology, or at night to monitor bolides and other bright transients.
            --
            You might be building the biggest telescope ever: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-user s -sel [blogspot.com]
    • While difficult, its much cheaper and easier to get hubble-style resolution in the optical range from ground.
      Dont forget that "hugely expensive" for a ground telescope is compareable to "dirt-cheap" for a space-based one.

      All 4 of the VLT telescopes were (IIRC) cheaper than a single hubble service mission. And OWL should be compareable to a modern space-telescope, too, for a fraction of the price (dont forget: its a tradeoff: better seeing vs "have to design a mirrror that can withstand the acceleraion and f
      • by Agent Orange (34692) <christhom@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:20AM (#19079291)
        Complete bullshit.

        Your cost estimates are accurate, but the rest of your argument is total shit. Adaptive optics, WHEN it works (which is rarely, and with difficulty), can approach the angular resolution of HST in a VERY SMALL field of view. You cannot get 0.05 arcsec, diffraction limited images over a wide field of view, that is possible with HST.

        "Designing a mirror to withstand a launch vehicle" is a problem that has been solved. And the only two current, viable telescope proposals for telescopes larger than 10m are the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT [tmt.org]) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT [gmto.org]). OWL is not a concept that is being taken very seriously...ESO certainly hasn't put its money where its mouth is.

        Your final point, about not many lines in that part of the spectrum, belies a complete lack of understanding of what you are talking about. The UV (accessible with STIS, and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, which will fly on SM4 in late '08) are so full of lines that they overlap all over the place. See, for example, Morton (2003), ApJS, 149, 205, for a comprehensive list. At low redshift, lines of HI, OI, OVI, CIV, NV, CII, SiII, SII, FeII, NI...all are in the UV, in the STIS band. Furthermore, space is the ONLY place these wavelengths can be observed, because of the atmosphere is opaque to wavelengths shorter than about 3300 angstroms.
        • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:52AM (#19079431)
          Hot damn, you bitch slapped the parent post.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by JD-1027 (726234)
            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".

        • Wow.

          My only thought was that if it is to replace Hubble it should be able to do everything Hubble can and then some. :)
          • by AlecC (512609)
            No. Terrestrial is catching up with Hubble in the visible, but terrestrial cannot see into the IR - full stop. SD0o there is much more untapped science in the IR than in the visible. Our preoccupation with the visible is highly speciesist. Anyway, you won't lose your pretty pictures of exploding galaxies: most of them are false colour or so highly processed as to amount to false colour.

            The cost of the JWST is about the same as two Stealth bombers or less than a a dozen Strike Fighters. While I know there is
        • by imsabbel (611519)
          Wow. Somebody at ./ who actually knows his stuff outside linux/OS.

          Ok, i admit i trolled a bit with the "no interesting lines" part, (although i still have the oppinion that currently, infrared it much more interesting. Who cares about another star if one extrasolar planet after the other pops up?).
          And yes, adaptive optics arent a cure-for-all. But considering the sheer amount of light gathering capacity you can put up for a few 100 millions, its still a viable alternative.

          Not to say that UV isnt useful, but
        • by beset (745752) on Friday May 11, 2007 @05:32AM (#19080425) Homepage
          You actually know what you're talking about.

          You must be new here.
        • by infinite9 (319274)
          Agent Orange Wins.

          Flawless Victory.
        • by Carnivore (103106)
          And the only two current, viable telescope proposals for telescopes larger than 10m

          Hey! That's not fair! The GTC [gtc.iac.es] in the Canary Islands is 10.4 m. Choke on that!

          I'm really just kidding. The GTC is pretty much a slightly larger version of Keck. It is really cool, though, and it's almost ready for first light.

          And my wife is designing an instrument for it. *rock*

          We need as many telescopes and instruments as we can keep running. No ground-based telescope can do a 10^6 second integration (see Hubble deep f
    • 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.
      • by pecosdave (536896)
        Unfortunately you beat me to the punch on this one, I spent to much time double checking flight numbers and which OV's were going to be used. Sadly enough I use Wikipedia. I can't find shit on the NASA site half the time
    • Re:Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pecosdave (536896) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:39AM (#19079367) Homepage Journal
      but with a backup shuttle in orbit in case the first one gets into trouble.

      Can you please site a source for this? Right now the software cannot actually support more than one shuttle in orbit at a time, if you look there has never been more than one up at a time. If there were this type of upgrade coming I could buy that story, but considering we're going to retire the fleet soon I don't see that as likely. I haven't installed any Aries specific equipment yet, but judging by the age of most of the shuttle specific equipment on the ground they're not going to do that level of a software rewrite for the shuttle when the fleets this close to retirement. Another issue with this statement is the shear altitude of the Hubble, well above ISS orbit. If we launched one into high orbit, and kept one at low orbit the one in low orbit simply wouldn't be able to reach the one in high orbit without landing for fuel anyways. Those things launch with their trajectories pretty much set and only do slight manuvering. STS-125 is the designated flight for Hubble servicing to be done by Atlantis, there is an as yet unnumbered contingency rescue flight, I don't think they number those unless they launch these days. They may put Discovery on the pad in ready position for rescue, but I seriously doubt they'll launch it unless they have to.

      On another note:
      There are emergency two shuttle protocols. What that comes down to more or less is equipment time sharing.
    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      It definitely need help. The main camera has not been working since June of last year. They did get one channel going in February http://www.stsci.edu/resources/acs.html [stsci.edu].
      --
      Grou nd based solar power: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
    • Re:Keeping Hubble (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NanoGradStudent (878951) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:37AM (#19079883)
      I was quite the fervent supporter of the Hubble up until I attended a talk by Dr. Philip Stahl, from the Marshall Space Center, and optics technical lead on the new James Webb Space Telescope.

      Yes, the JWST is an infrared telescope. But, as another post further down alludes to incorrectly (for which they were smacked down and corrected by someone else) the James Webb is able to see further back into the history of the universe than we have ever been able to observe. What started out as visible light all those billions of years ago (and billions of light years away) becomes red-shifted into the infrared as the universe expands and, in a nearly literal fashion, stretches out that incoming light.

      So while the Hubble has been responsible for a lot of great science, and truly breath-taking images, we have the potential to do so much more and better understand our universe with the JWST. We haven't maxed out the potential of the Hubble (probably never would), and I would love to keep it, but if there's only enough to deploy the JWST (and it's already been pushed back by several years), or keep on servicing the Hubble, my vote would be in favour of the JWST.
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)
        we have the potential to do so much more and better understand our universe with the JWST

        Wrong. We have the opportunity to do *different* things than we can with the Hubble. For example, unlike the JWST and ground-based scopes, the Hubble can see in the near-UV, which makes it possible to detect oxygen in nebulae, which is important for studying stellar evolution.
  • by rts008 (812749) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:51AM (#19079091) Journal
    How long is that lame /. poll going to stay????

    Move on to the next subject!!!!

    I have Karma to burn....mod's do not hold any fear for me!!!!
  • by callmetheraven (711291) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:55AM (#19079123)
    Is it just me or does the JWST look kind of like Barbie's Imperial Star Destroyer?
    • by owlnation (858981)

      Is it just me or does the JWST look kind of like Barbie's Imperial Star Destroyer?
      Poniescope? With glitter, obviously.
  • Gaia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vincnetas (943756) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:55AM (#19079127) Homepage
    I think Gaia probe [wikipedia.org] is more interesting, and it is planned to be launched in 2011 not in 2013 as JWST
    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      The age of precision cosmology is a relative term. This mission will make precision astrometry so good its a little scary. But, I do like mid-infrared so I like JWST.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nuffsaid (855987)

      It is expected to be launched by the ESA in the second half of 2011, and will be operated in a Lissajous orbit around the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrangian point.

      Let's hope they will agree on non-intersecating orbits for Gaia and JWST.

      Gaia team: Hey! We were here first!
      JWST team: "Here"? You are oscillating all around the place!
      Gaia team: Ours is an elegant Lissajous orbit. What is yours?
      JWST team: We'll pwn the L2 point itself!
      Gaia team: No way! Our probe will intersect it in 13 days.
      JWST team: Metric days or imperi

  • As radiation travels from distant stars and passes through obstacles, gravitational lensing, dust clouds, etc., it loses energy and thus frequency eventually turning radiation from the gamma/x-ray spectrum into visible light then into infrared light. This new telescope will help us by giving us insights to some of the conditions that would be found very early on in the universe. Hubble and other similar land-based telescopes can't give us that insight because of not showing the infrared, the oldest informat
  • Six years? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:16AM (#19079263)
    Can they actually do this in six years?
    • by HAKdragon (193605) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nogardkah>> on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:20AM (#19079287)
      I think it's possible, it's not like their working on Duke Nukem Forever or anything.
  • by MLease (652529) on Friday May 11, 2007 @01:48AM (#19079419)
    When they start getting images from the JWST, they'll see a dude in a flowing white robe and beard waving his arms; lip readers will ultimately be able to make out the words "Let there be light!" in Hebrew.

    -Mike
  • is to screw-up so unbelievably badly, that it will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to fix the problem. Let's hope they test the mirrors this time round.
  • sunshield? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ignatius (6850) on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:51AM (#19079959)
    Why does this need a sunshield at all? The article says that the telescope should be parked in the 2nd Lagrangian point L2, which is 1.5 Gm from the Earth and should be permanently shaded from sunlight. Isn't the whole point of sending something to L2 that it is not exposed to the sun? Also, how is the energy supply supposed to work? Anyone out there who can shed some light on these questions?

    ignatius
    • Re:sunshield? (Score:5, Informative)

      by imsabbel (611519) on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:49AM (#19080245)
      Geometry.

        Earth only has 12000km diameter. Sun has 1.4 million km diameter.
      For earth to give shade, it would have to be closer than AU*(r_earth/r_sun), which is much closer than the lagrange point.
      Simply put: you would get a dark spot on the sun, but no complete cover.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      First, the Sun is larger than the Earth, there is no permanently shaded point at L2. Second, the telescope will not actually be parked at L2, it will be in a halo orbit around L2. Third, it would be rather silly to park a solar powered vehicle in the shade, doncha think?

      Thus, the need for the sunshade.

      The point of sending something to L2 is that it is still permanently close enough to Earth to make high bandwidth communications easy, while it is far enough from Earth to have an unobstructed view of nearly
      • by mdsolar (1045926)
        Actually, you'd like to have it as some distance from Earth because the Earth is warm. At L2 you block both the Sun and Earth with the sun shield and so can make the telescope colder without extra shielding. This is not a big deal for Hubble but it is a big deal for infrared telescopes. Spitzer Space Telescope orbits the Sun on a trailing orbit to get away from the Earth's emissions.
        --
        Please help cool the Earth: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-user s -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
    • by Nyh (55741)
      Why does this need a sunshield at all? The article says that the telescope should be parked in the 2nd Lagrangian point L2, which is 1.5 Gm from the Earth and should be permanently shaded from sunlight. Isn't the whole point of sending something to L2 that it is not exposed to the sun? Also, how is the energy supply supposed to work? Anyone out there who can shed some light on these questions?

      L2 = 1.5e9 m
      Sun - L2 = 151e9 m

      r_Earth = 6.4e6 m

      Maximum size sun for complete shading by earth:
      r_max = 6.4e6 * 151e9
    • by Nuffsaid (855987)
      "Shed some light"! Good one this one! :-)
  • 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?

    • While I'm not the expert you asked for, I'd say because as Congress is in every generation (Congress isn't to be confused with a presidential party) - stingy on the purse strings. They were reluctant as hell to approve funding on the mission(s) to repair the Hubble - thats *repair* not send up another, which I would assume would be cheaper. So if it was a miracle to get a repair mission authorized, why would they approve even more money to send 2 up when they would be just as fine with letting the Hubble di
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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 lau
  • By the way,... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TransEurope (889206) <eniac@u n i - k o b lenz.de> on Friday May 11, 2007 @04:44AM (#19080221)
    ...the telescope will be brought up by a Ariane-V Rocket
    from French Guyana.
    http://www.uibk.ac.at/ipoint/news/images/esa_pic_a riane_5.jpg [uibk.ac.at]
  • The telescope will orbit at a distance of 1.5m km - is that true? That puts it outside the orbit of the Moon does it not? About four times as far in fact? Wow, so this thing isn't designed to be serviced then. (wiki says Moon's apogee is 400,000km.
    • by soft_guy (534437) *
      I actually missed the "million" in the summary and for a minute I was thinking "the moon is only .375 km from earth? That seems really close - like I could walk there -- if I could walk straight up."
    • by Zaatxe (939368)
      No, you are not being dumb. I noticed that a second after I read the summary too.
      The weird part is that you posted your comment more than 4 hours after the article was posted, and it's hard to believe that no slashdotter noticed that before!
  • 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]

    • Name a scientist (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AlpineR (32307)

      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 h

    • 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.

      Ask any space historian to name the five people most responsible for the sucess NASA in the 60's and especially of the Apollo Project - and James Webb will almost certainly be on that list. Other candidates for that list are; Rocco Petrone, Chris Kraft, Joe Shea, Werhner Vonbraun, Maxime Faget, Robert Gilruth, George Low, George Mueller, General Sam Phillips, Dr. Farouk E

  • Sweet... 18 feet of desktop wallpaper-enhancing power! It would be great if it had a self-repairing mirror with a few extra panels installed, in case of close encounter with space dust at 18,000 miles per hour.
  • 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 "mill

God is real, unless declared integer.

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