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Space Science

Final Repair Mission To Extend Hubble's Life 125

necro81 writes "The NYTimes has an in-depth piece describing an upcoming shuttle mission, scheduled for next August, to make a final service call to the Hubble Space Telescope. After the Columbia accident and the scheduled shuttle decommission in 2010, additional service trips to the telescope were off the table. The resulting hue and cry from scientists, legislators, and the public forced NASA to reconsider. Next August, if all goes well, Atlantis will grab Hubble, replace its aging gyros, attempt to revive the Advanced Camera for Surveys, and install a new camera and spectrograph. The telescope could then continue doing science well into the next decade."
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Final Repair Mission To Extend Hubble's Life

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  • by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:04PM (#21579007) Homepage
    The Hubble has to be NASA's greatest success. And where Apollo was a triumph in engineering, Hubble is a triumph in pure science.
    • No way (Score:4, Informative)

      by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:15PM (#21579101)
      Nonsense. COBE [] was far more significant. There's much more to science than pretty pictures!
      • Re:No way (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:51PM (#21579429) Homepage Journal

        True, but I would argue that Hubble and the Mars rovers have done far more to promote space science to the masses. In an era where scientific research is often the first thing on the chopping block, the importance of projects like Hubble should not be underestimated.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anti_Climax ( 447121 )
        COBE did help to create This [] pretty picture.

        From the XKCD Store page []:

        The graph on the back of the shirt is data from the COBE mission, which looked at the background microwave glow of the universe and found that it fit perfectly with the idea that the universe used to be really hot everywhere. This strongly reinforced the Big Bang theory and was one of the most dramatic examples of an experiment agreeing with a theory in history -- the data points fit perfectly, with error bars too small t

      • "Pretty pictures!" Is that all you think Hubble has done? Wow. I didn't realize that some Slashdotters were so utterly clueless.
      • Re:No way (Score:5, Insightful)

        by googleSky ( 1198437 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:51PM (#21580421)
        Let me further follow up on this silly comment. While producing its remarkable results, COBE was hardly "far more significant" than Hubble. COBE's measurements confirmed the isotropy or, rather, the extremely low levels of anisotropy of the CMB -- to a high order of confidence. But the CMB was actually observed decades earlier by Penzias and Wilson at Greenbank. WMAP further improved on COBE results.

        Despite Quadraginta's blinkered belief that Hubble produces only "pretty pictures!" Hubble has been crucial in the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the universe, a result that has turned our understanding of the universe into an utter lack of understanding: we now have no idea what comprises 96% of the universe (dark energy and dark matter). This observation apparently vindicated Einstein's lamda, which even Einstein claimed was his biggest blunder. Others, though, now speculate that the accelerated expansion could be a manifestation of temporal pathology.

        Hubble certainly has produced pretty pictures, but this weird fixation that there is somehow a "competition" between scientific instruments has simply got to stop. These missions are designed as complements to further our understanding of the physical universe.
        • You'll want to share your wisdom with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, then, since they awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics to Mather and Smoot for work carried out with the COBE satellite.
    • by wildsurf ( 535389 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:15PM (#21579107) Homepage

      And where Apollo was a triumph in engineering, Hubble is a triumph in pure science.
      Well, except for that pesky myopia debacle. []
      • by filterban ( 916724 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:24PM (#21579205) Homepage Journal
        Yes, there was a flaw in the mirror. I remember the size of the flaw being described at a space museum tour as:

        "Take one strand of your hair. Cut it lengthwise 36 times; take one of those strands and cut it another 36 times lengthwise."

        To me, that just underscores the difficulty in putting a telescope in space. True, the flaw was considered a debacle, but NASA fixed it by correcting the instruments on the telescope by an equally offsetting amount. This has led to amazing discoveries and the Hubble can largely be viewed as a success.

        In my mind, it's a shame that we won't be keeping it running past 2013.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by khallow ( 566160 )
          The flaw was a lot bigger than that. As I dimly recall it, they did a "knife edge" test on the Hubble and placed the edge significantly out of place. Supposedly, a human could have easily run the knife edge test and detected the flaw visually. But the error was done precisely to around an eighth of a wavelength of visual light (not sure what the frequency was). So it was possible to get good pictures just by processing the images. Further, the precision of the error meant that the corrective optics restored
        • by CJ145 ( 1110297 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:23PM (#21581069)
          In 2013 there is suppose to be a new telescope that should be capable of replacing Hubble. []
          • While that is true, the JWST can not image in the visible light wavelengths like Hubble, so we won't get actual pictures we can see, except false color ones derived from the infrared data.
          • JWST will be an incredible science instrument. But, it cannot "replace" the HST. JWST will do infrared much better than any other instrument, whereas HST currently covers UV, visible, and some IR.
      • >> And where Apollo was a triumph in engineering, Hubble is a triumph in pure science.

        > Well, except for that pesky myopia debacle.

        Despite which its first light picture was better than any ground based scopes could manage. It showed a known star to be a binary, a fact which wasn't known prior. That's a pretty poor debacle compared to, say installing an accelerometer upside down and doing very expensive post hole digging with a dust collection satellite.

        • by Sanat ( 702 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:38AM (#21581597)
          "That's a pretty poor debacle compared to, say installing an accelerometer upside down"

          We fired a missile out of Vandenburg a few years ago that had the angular accelerometer wires color coded backwards. The test coil was wired correctly so all diagnostics passed.

          When the missile was fired and cleared the underground silo it was normal for the missile to pitch towards 70 degrees. As it approached that angle the the speed of pitching is reduced to zero, however if the accelerometer is reverse wired then the missile pitches faster instead of slower and the missile simply cleared the silo wall and pitched level to the ground shooting across the fields at what seemed to be a thousand miles an hour and it started a couple of fires and also caused a lot of scrambling of onlookers until the range officer was able to destruct it.

          We were out with our field jackets extinguishing the fires and then had to pick up all of the unburned propellant (green solid fuel).

          Of course, we kept some propellant back and would ignited it in ashtrays and stuff like that as practical jokes. I wonder how I survived some of the stuff I was involved with in those days.

    • : "If that wasn't the mother ship, what the hell did we just blow up?"
      : "The hubble telescope."
    • Assuming we overlook the fact that the majority of the costs for Hubble were from flying it on the Space Shuttle, then I will agree that it is a NASA success story. Otherwise, I think it is a decent PR success for NASA but poorly executed from the beginning (aka when they decided to launch it on the shuttle). I thought I hard something like up to 6 Hubble's could have been launched (5 blown up) and we would have the exact same functionality as the current one, as long as we used an unmanned rocket. As m

  • by Bobb Sledd ( 307434 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:14PM (#21579099) Homepage
    I wonder if those are lamb or beef gyros...

    (Yes I know it is bad.)

    • That's OK. When I read TFS, I had this image in my head of Edwin Hubble happily fishing out on the ocean, only to be grabbed by the sunken city of Atlantis below him. The sad part is that I don't even do drugs.
    • (Yes I know it is bad.)
      In fact, beef gyros are pretty good with mayonnaise..
    • Does it matter if it's lamb or beef? Any meat will be bad after that long!
      • Not after being stored in the universe's best Seal-A-Meal [] - no air, and temps near absolute zero. Ron [] Popeil [] would be proud!

        [I know that insolation will raise the temp, but I thought it was funny].

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In my early years in physics I worked on shuttles, and then on environmental cleanups and nu-cu-lar waste disposal. Many times I used Hubble as example of what we could do right in science: so often critics have said that they never see what good could come out of it. Hubble has made that entire line of "reasoning" disappear. SEEING the results, in the visible spectrum, FREELY available... Could we find something similar for this current emphasis in biophysics? C'mon slashdot, let's take science to the mas
    • by twiddlingbits ( 707452 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @09:00PM (#21580033)
      Hubble does not "see" the pictures you find published. The data is a series of binary values in different frequencys and intensities depending on what filter is in use and which "camera" (WFC or COS) it came from. The colors are "false" colors created on the ground to match the data values as closely as possible.
      • Sure, but the result are pictures, and those pictures are beautiful and give people a feel for the science. If only other sciences and technologies could do the same!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ckaminski ( 82854 )
        Just like digital cameras don't produce pictures either...

        Nor celluloid film...

        Even your retinas create images in a similar fashion, a collection of light hitting photo-sensitive receptor sites.

  • by joshamania ( 32599 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:26PM (#21579227) Homepage
    Are the advantages of having Hubble outside the atmosphere still worth the expense? I'd rather see NASA spending their money on Mars.

    I thought I had heard that new ground-based telescope technology has largely made the benefits of the old Hubble obsolete. Does anyone know anything more specific on that?
    • Sure, adaptive optics allows ground-based 'scopes to do SOME of the things that only Hubble could previously do. However, anything requiring high-contrast imaging, photometric stability, or spectral uniformity still greatly benefits from Hubble. Given that astronomers request 10 times as much time on Hubble as there actually is, there's still plenty of science that only it can do.
    • by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:45PM (#21579363)

      Well, the fact that our atmosphere is opaque to UV? If you want to do UV observations, and in particular UV spectroscopy, then going above the atmosphere is the only way to do it. Nothing on the ground will *ever* be able to observe in the UV.

      Similar considerations apply to the mid- and far-IR -- the Spitzer space telescope can access wavebands that are simply not visible from the ground.

      • Funny, last time I checked the shops were full of special creams to protect people from harmful UV radiation when they go outdoors.

        • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

          The parent would have been better off saying that it's opaque to UVC. UVA and UVB make it through in varying amounts.

    • by ThreeGigs ( 239452 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:45PM (#21579367)
      Ozone blocks ultraviolet, water vapor absorbs strongly in the infrared, dust particles et al emit in infrared too, causing a huge loss of contrast.

      Sadly, the atmosphere isn't really as transparent as it looks once you get outside the visible spectrum, and that's where 50% (a statistic made up on the spot) of astronomy breakthroughs are.

      Future scopes in space are likely to be infrared (Webb), ultraviolet, radio and x-ray specific. Plus, adaptive optics are still only a band-aid(R) compared to viewing outside the atmosphere.
      • by syousef ( 465911 )
        50% (a statistic made up on the spot)

        Quick mod him +5:Informative!!!! Oh wait too late. Never mind.
    • There is this thing called adaptive optics, which corrects for atmospheric turbulence by bending the secondary mirror in real time with 600 magnetic actuators. However, there is a bit of a problem making it work... the LBT being built by my employer Steward Observatory has had at least two of the 1 meter diameter, 1.6 mm thick secondary mirrors crack before installation (they currently have zero good adaptive secondaries). But when it works, as it has on the MMT, it works quite well.
    • What about the other orbital telescopes up there already? Chandra and Spitzer already do a lot of the science that Hubble was being used for, considering those platforms...and isn't their one more...does Hubble still make sense?
      • Chandra works in X-rays, Spizter at mid-infrared wavelengths. Hubble does science that they can't, and vice versa. Plus, there is multiwavelength science that can only be done when all three are used together (e.g., studying supernova remnants, quasar spectral energy distributions, etc.).
    • Err. I believe the cost benefit analysis for saving Hubble comes back in the red. I do not have a source for this, but space walks are dangerous and complicated operations and the last time they repaired the Hubble, it almost ended in catastrophe.

      There are a few things that Hubble can do that no other telescope can. However, those things will be done much better by the James Webb Space Telescope [] to be launched sometime after 2013.
      • JWST may be the political successor of Hubble, but it will not replace its capabilities. JWST operates only in the infrared; Hubble's primary contributions are in the visible (and the UV). These spectral coverages are complementary. The launch of JWST (after it finishes hoovering up what's left of the NASA astrophysics budget) will not cause Hubble to become obsolete.
      • However you may have a point about the cost/benefit ratio. For the price of a shuttle launch to repair Hubble (~$1B), you could just about build and launch a new one on an unmanned rocket. If there were a concerted program to launch a virtually identical 2-meter telescope every 4 years with different instrumentation on it, that program would be better and cheaper than continuing to repair Hubble. However, congressional whims being what they are, such a program would inevitably get cut after its first mission, obviating the savings. Hence NASA has opted to continue to repair and update Hubble instead.
    • by Sibko ( 1036168 )

      I'd rather see NASA spending their money on Mars.
      I'd rahter see NASA spending their money on Venus, the most earth-like and habitable planet [] in our solar system aside from Earth itself.
      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

        I'd rahter see NASA spending their money on Venus, the most earth-like and habitable planet in our solar system aside from Earth itself.

        If by "Earth-like and habitable" you mean an average surface temperature of 480C, an atmosphere consisting of 96.5% CO2 and surface atmospheric pressures 92 times greater then Earth, then yes, Venus is "Earth-like and habitable".

        It's somewhat possible for us to establish manned outposts on Luna and Mars with current technology, assuming the political will to do so existed. Can you really say the same for Venus?

        • Click the link he provided, it answers the concerns that you raised. There are other concerns that are not answered, but those you raised are really answered, strange as this may seem.
          • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

            What in that link disproves my statement that we could establish outposts on Luna and Mars with existing technology but not Venus?

            Do we have "cloud flyers" that could fly around Venus at 50km of altitude? Do we have the technology to terraform the planet in a reasonable amount of time?

            I'm not trying to be a nay-sayer. Just pointing out that in spite of all the advantages (closer to Earth with more launching windows, gravity almost the same as Earth), Venus is probably still out of reach with existing te

            • I meant that it addresses the pressure and temperature that you mentioned. I didn't mean that it disproves anything you said, only that it gives some answers. I should have said more clearly what it answered, I realize now that the way I said it was misleading.

              We do have technology for balloons and blimps. Note that people would live inside the buoyant gas and breathe it. But certainly lots of challenges related to this remain unanswered -- as I already said in my post.

              You sound angry or something. Don't be
              • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

                I'm not angry.... don't know what in my post you read as anger. My original reply was because I took exception to the GPs statement that Venus is the most "Earth-like" planet in the solar system. It's nothing of the kind.

                I'd leap at the chance for us to establish outposts or colonies on Venus. I'd probably even volunteer to go. Given the constraints on technology though I just don't see it happening first. Would you agree that with enough funding we could probably establish a foothold on Mars or Luna

                • Would you agree that with enough funding we could probably establish a foothold on Mars or Luna with existing technology?

                  No, I don't agree. Not with existing technology. New technology will be needed. But I do think that this new technology is within reach. I do think that with sufficient funding we can very likely solve all the inherent problems, although I do think that some of them are quite formidable.

                  Maybe that was exactly what you meant and I'm just being more pedantic.

                  Can the same be said about Venus?

                  I don't yet have enough information to judge that.

                  Before yesterday I found every non-science fiction, seriously intended idea about deploying people on

    • Are the advantages of having Hubble outside the atmosphere still worth the expense? I'd rather see NASA spending their money on Mars.

      I thought I had heard that new ground-based telescope technology has largely made the benefits of the old Hubble obsolete. Does anyone know anything more specific on that?

      If we could reliably do this, you would have heard about it. Adaptive optics (AO) is great, but its primarily useful in infrared, not visible. Lucky Imaging (recently deployed at Palomar) is supposed to correct for this, but from what I understand, requires pretty long exposure times to get enough data. Its useful, but we'll have to see how it develops. AO is definitely a way to help control some of the problems with ground based telescopes, but not all. AO infrared images have about as much resolution as

    • Ground-based satelittes have to spin with the Earth. This prevents them from having the super-long exposure times that Hubble can achieve.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @07:29PM (#21579245) Homepage
    NASA will try to get as much positive spin out of Hubble as it can :-)
  • The telescope could then continue doing science well into the next decade.
    Doing science. Now that's what I'm talking about. You give them space robots some more tools, keep em up there with them gadgets, lookin at the moon and whatnot. That's how progress gets done.
  • ...get placed in orbit around the moon. I wonder if it would result in better imaging capability or not.
    • I doubt it, since the main advantage to Hubble isn't that it is closer to the objects it is viewing, just that it doesn't have the atmo taking away so much. The distances improvement would be VERY small, and actually would be farther away from some objects. It would be like moving it 1/2 of a blade of grass east when you're in LA looking at New York and Japan.

      Also, it would make repair a major bitch...

      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

        I doubt it, since the main advantage to Hubble isn't that it is closer to the objects it is viewing

        Actually a better spot for viewing would be one of the Lagrangian points []. A huge portion of the sky is blocked from Hubble's field of view by the Earth. No way around that with an object in low Earth orbit.

        Presumably an object in orbit of Luna would suffer the same drawback. The far side of the moon might be useful for a future RF telescope though -- as it would serve to block a lot of the RF generated by humans.

        • But, since it is in LEO, it can just wait until that part is in view. LEO orbits earth in like 30 minutes or so? May be a couple hours?

          However, putting it in a lagrangian point would sure be a "put up or shut up" move when it comes to saying that this is the last, last repair mission.

    • 2,3 and 4. Spread as far apart in geosynchronous space as possible. Linked with as fast a set of communications processors as possible. With as much fuel as possible. So that you can point 3 or 4 of these at the same targets in the universe at the same time. Or point it at targets that are out of visible range of the hubble because of things like planet earth getting in the way.

      Why? You want radio telescopy on a grand scale? How about a radio telescope with a 40,000 km edge to edge diameter? But the
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )
        Radio telescopes are nice, but I'd like to see it in the visible spectrum. You guys have fun with all that data, I just want to SEE.
  • Not sure it was a cry from scientists, legislators, and the public as much as it was a cry from a small number of people with everyone else going along with what they read.

  • by xlation ( 228159 ) * on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @08:47PM (#21579943)
    IIRC we cannot, by treaty, just let the Hubble's orbit decay like Skylab & Mir, we need to do a de-orbit burn and drop it in the Pacific, or some other relatively safe place. The problem was this, is that the Hubble has no rocket engines on board, so we need to send something up there to attach an engine.

    That would be a complicated robotic mission, but there is a further complication... Once enough gyros fail, it will start to tumble. That would make a servicing mission near impossible. (you could no longer just grab it.)

    So once NASA decides that we need to go anyway, why bother to de-orbit it? Servicing Mission 3B was in 2002, if they can get another 6 years out of SM4 that will get them to 2014. If NASA is serious about replacing the shuttle, they should be able to get another manned craft into low-earth orbit by then, even if it is using an off-the-shelf launch system,

    • by Iskender ( 1040286 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:54PM (#21580901)

      IIRC we cannot, by treaty, just let the Hubble's orbit decay like Skylab & Mir, we need to do a de-orbit burn and drop it in the Pacific, or some other relatively safe place. The problem was this, is that the Hubble has no rocket engines on board, so we need to send something up there to attach an engine.
      From TFA:

      In one additional piece of business, the astronauts will attach a grapple fixture to the bottom of the telescope so that a robot spacecraft could grab it and attach a rocket module in the future. The rocket would then drop the telescope into the ocean.

      They seem to be thinking ahead, almost like it was their job or something. : )
  • Sure brings (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @08:58PM (#21580015) Homepage
    "The Device NASA Is Leaving Behind" [] into context. (It being the last Slashdot story in the Space section.)

  • hue

    Color or shade of color; tint; dye


    to complain about

    (in before "there are no editors")
  • by TrevorB ( 57780 )
    One more Hubble servicing mission... but the 1.5 billion dollar AMS (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) won't be launched to ISS [] because there aren't enough remaining Shuttle launches.

    Hubble's been fantastic and all, but all the furor, angst and money could have been spent on launching an entirely new telescope into space by now.
  • Mixed feelings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FridayBob ( 619244 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @10:15PM (#21580647) Homepage
    While I'm glad that the Hubble is going to be repaired, after reading yesterday's article [] about the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) [] that looks like it won't get delivered to the ISS due to a lack of available shuttle missions, I'm no longer sure it's the right thing to do. Seeing as the AMS took 500 physicists 12 years to build and cost $1.5 billion, and that it's capable of doing new and amazing science, I think it deserves a chance. The Hubble has already been up their for years and will be replaced in 2013 by the James Webb Space Telescope [] anyway. The AMS has no replacement; not launching it would be worse than not repairing Hubble.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

      OMG. 500 Physicists, 12 years of work, 1.5 Billion? I'm outraged! The biggest boondoggle in the history of the ISS could have paid for an extra week of war in Iraq!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by moosesocks ( 264553 )
      To be perfectly fair, the JWST will *not* be a drop-in replacement for the Hubble, as it's going to be primarily geared toward observing the infrared spectrum, whereas the Hubble is capable of observing everything between Ultraviolet and Infrared (visible light obviously being included between the two)

      Although there's indeed a great value of having a dedicated IR scope up there, I think that astronomers would agree that keeping the Hubble in orbit will be a very good thing, not to mention the obvious benefi
    • Write your Congressmen, both House and Senate, of the importance to science, prestige for America, and the space program. Feel free to list other concerns you have but give NASA and in particular the AMS high marks so that it stands out. Do not mention the war or the expenditure of the funds on it, that will only get you written off. Instead stay positive.

      Then get your friends to send emails and the like. You can use wikipedia for the links to your own Congressmen. You might try writing into the opinio
  • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:28PM (#21581111)
    It's been more than 20 years since I was in the inertial navigation business, but my recollection is that there should be no significant wearout mechanism for gyros. Mechanical gyros use air bearings (or possibly magnetic bearings): no contact, no wear. I suppose if they're using laser gyros they'll fail eventually due to problems with impurities or thermal stresses or something.

    Are the control electronics associated with the gyros failing? What gyro technology are they using?

    • The gyros onboard HST are the most sensitive rate sensors ever created by mankind, giving the observatory 7 milliarc-seconds of stability. The hair-like flex leads are suspended in a gel, and they cannot physically remove all the oxygen from the gel, so the flex leads oxidize. L3 makes them, formally Allied Signal, Bendix, etc.
  • Part of the ISS? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by yuriyg ( 926419 )
    This might sound naive, but what about attaching this thing to the ISS? Sure would make maintenance a lot more easier, with all those regular flights and round-the-clock human presence.

    Is there anything fundamentally incompatible with the design of the Hubble and the ISS? (orbit, need to rotate, etc.?)
    • As I understand it from the discussions here [] and here [], it would be impossible with conventional rocketry, and possible but impractical with a solar-powered ion engine. The latter would take three years, during which the telescope would be unusable. That becomes prohibitive when you consider that the ISS orbit is unsuitable for observation, so after the repairs you'd need time to get the telescope back to a useful orbit. By that time the telescope would be too old.

      Several alternatives are considered in those
  • What Science does the space station actually advance, and how is it meaningful to us?
    From what I know of, most of our useful scientific advances from the space program have been because of trying to get out into space. I honestly don't know of a single advance made from actually being out there. We know a bit more about the planets surface, and that there aren't any living sentient beings in our region of space. However, we also know that its hugely impractical to relocate to these planets as well, and that
  • Invoice (Score:4, Funny)

    by QuickFox ( 311231 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @12:43AM (#21581619)
    I bet like all repairmen they'll charge ridiculously large travel expenses.
  • by kagaku ( 774787 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @10:24AM (#21584465)
    I'm doing science and I'm still alive.
    I feel fantastic and I'm still alive.
    While you're dying I'll be still alive.
    And when you're dead I will be still alive.

    Still alive.
  • Hubble is the only major accomplishment that's worth its salt nasa did in the last 20 years. I get amazed even when discussions of scrapping it come up or some people actually foolishly propose it. what hubble brought to human civilization dwarfs even moon landing accomplishment. and im no astronomer.
  • It's always cheaper to fix an old car than to get a new one.

    (He says after getting a new radiator for my 1995 Saturn Station Wagon.)

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle