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Space Science

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Is Back In Business 70

Matt_dk writes "Just a couple of days after the orbiting observatory was brought back online, Hubble aimed its prime working camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), at a particularly intriguing target, a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147. The image demonstrated that the camera is working exactly as it was before going offline, thereby scoring a 'perfect 10 both for performance and beauty.' (Meanwhile, the slowly declining Mars Phoenix Lander has now entered safe mode, according to reader CraftyJack.)
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Is Back In Business

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  • Safe mode? (Score:2, Funny)

    by EagleRock ( 973742 )
    The Mars Lander entered safe mode? Why do I have bad shivers all of a sudden? Must be my conditioned response from Windows.
    • Vista decided that the Lander was running an unlicensed copy...

      (Yes, I know that it's most likely using VxWorks)

      • Yes. From the ping times, the OS determined it was no longer on or orbiting planet earth, and thus, required an additional "non-terrestrial" license.

        In Microsoft's defense, it did put up a dialog with a phone number to call to purchase the license.

  • Lander, not Rover (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ertman ( 29767 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @02:09PM (#25572801)

    It's the Mars Lander (Phoenix), not the Mars Rover, that is going into standby.

  • Nothing else breaks before the rescheduled repair mission. With equipment this old if things keep breaking the mission could keep getting rescheduled over and over. [fingers crossed]
    • Good call. It'd really be a shame for the project to end so abruptly. Though, I don't think we'll see the successes we had of the Mars Rovers, especially, since they lasted way beyond their expected life. I think their mobility really helped that along, and the lack of that is killing the current lander.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Taken from a comment on

      # Dan Fischer Says:
      October 30th, 2008 at 10:09 am

      Seems youâ(TM)ve missed the new bad news for Hubble [], namely trouble with the ground spare that is to go up with the shuttle - this mission is now in danger. Todays NASA telecon (at 21:00 UTC) will be interesting â¦

  • by Anonymous Coward
    bad news: gnaa hacked it to only show goatse
  • They're not shutting down the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, correct? They're talking about shutting down the Lander, Phoenix. The Rovers are still going strong.

    • Re:Rover? (Score:5, Informative)

      by EagleRock ( 973742 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @02:20PM (#25572981)
      Lots of confusion...but yes, Spirit and Opportunity are still going strong. It's the Mars Lander Phoenix that's entering safe mode due to failing electronics and deteriorating climate.
      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Lots of confusion...but yes, Spirit and Opportunity are still going strong. It's the Mars Lander Phoenix that's entering safe mode due to failing electronics and deteriorating climate.

        Deteriorating climate?
        Surely the climate is fairly stable on Mars, and it's just seasons and weather changes?
        Or is Mars undergoing climate changes?

        • I meant as in worsening weather conditions. The area the Mars Lander is in has gotten much colder this week and it has been forced to stop scientific functions and focus solely on preserving itself (heating, etc.).
  • by svnt ( 697929 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @02:25PM (#25573061)

    I knew those NASA guys were sandbagging.

    Claiming to be carrying out "experiments" with "hypotheses," ha!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jesus_666 ( 702802 )
      Actually, science is a very limited resource and one of the Mars missions' most important goals is to see if Mars has any substantial science ore deposits and how we could mine them. It turned out that Martian soil actually contains small lumps of high-purity science ore, which the rovers collect. NASA is working on remotely using that almost-pure science to generate further insights into the Martian science deposits before Martian winter kills off the electronics. However, using impure science with equipme
    • I can't wait till the japanese send out scientific vessels to nearby planets. To perform scientific "experiments" on the wildlife. Experiments where the wildlife ends up in meals back home [].
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hubble had lens implants.

  • zzzz (Score:5, Informative)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @02:33PM (#25573175)
    The lander may be shutting down, but its work remembering that its done its job and exceeded 2.5 times its planned life span.

    If everything I designed lasted 2.5 times its product life I would be happy.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by EagleRock ( 973742 )
      I don't know if the Phoenix is past its expect life yet. I thought the project was expected to go until the end of the year. It is the Mars Rovers that have gone way past their expected life, as they landed back in 2004.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tgd ( 2822 )

        Its 2.5 times past its expected life.

        The rovers are like cockroaches, nothing will kill them. They're closer to 20x.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dotancohen ( 1015143 )

          Its 2.5 times past its expected life.

          The rovers are like cockroaches, nothing will kill them. They're closer to 20x.

          Phoenix is at the end of its expected life of three to four months, which differs from it's planned primary mission lifespan of only 90 days. Note that not all the ovens have been used during the primary mission, as the craft was expected to last longer.

          The rovers also had only 90 day primary missions. They are now 5 years past that, just about x20 that you mention.

      • by alexj33 ( 968322 )
        If you meet a wolf, would a wolf wolf meat with a "woof woof" in a wolf meet?
    • by redxxx ( 1194349 )

      It's not shutting down per se. It's in a polar region and winter is coming, it's diverting most of the diminishing solar energy it receives to generating hear, so it won't be damaged by the cold. It will still be operational, just operating in a mode that isn't very useful for doing science.

      Nothing's broken. It's last longer than was planned, and now they are taking steps so there is a chance it will last longer still.

      • Actually from what I've heard its marginally broken. They were having trouble getting it into safe mode but managed to communicate with it and shut it down yesterday. However, its not responding today, so it seems it doesnt have enough reserve power to keep itself properly warmed. However, my friend (who was telling me about the issues today) mentioned some kind of "Lazarus Mode" that may let it wake up again come spring.

        And apparently they're still able to get a lot of good climatological data off of it

    • The primary mission was planned to take 92 days, and we are currently on day 158 and counting, a factor of about 1.76 so far. Furthermore that 92 days was just the tentative science schedule, not the designed lifespan. The lander was designed to last until winter hit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      To be fair, the 90 days wasn't really a planned lifespan, that was the prime mission that they needed to finish to be a "success". I suspect that the reason for this is partly funding: NASA likes to fund projects in increments in case something does go wrong. (They don't write a lot of software until the spacecraft is successfully launched, for example.) Plus, but low-balling the life expectancy, they can amaze everyone with what a great bargain the mission is when it outlives it.

      I don't think anyone re

    • The most interesting thing by far for the next polar (or near-polar) Mars lander to do would be to watch the winter ice caps develop around it.

      After all, every single Mars mission mentions the possibility of life and water in the history of Mars, so that does seem to be important to us. Yet, there are millions of tons of water ice at the Martian poles, and given the amazing adaptability of life to extreme conditions on Earth, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility for life (of some sort) to exist at the

  • by Ngarrang ( 1023425 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:03PM (#25573625) Journal

    And now back to our regularly scheduled program "Diverting Funding from New Space Telescope Technology"

    I am your host, Marlin Perkins, and this week, we are sending Jim into space to repair the HST instead of focusing our funding on newer telescope technology.

    I understand that the James Webb telescope thingy is not a visible light 'scope. But, do you wonder what kind of HST replacement we could have had already if we had not spent so much time and money on repairs?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Well, let's think about that, shall we? HST's total cost was about $1.5 billion when it was launched in 1990. (If that figure is 1990 dollars, it's nearly $2.5 billion now.) Being generous, we can figure a shuttle repair mission is around $0.5 billion, so four servicing missions are worth about $2 billion, comparable to the cost of a new Hubble. James Webb ST, by comparison, is estimated to cost $4.5 billion over its lifetime, so you'd get half of a new 'scope for the cost of keeping the old one working

    • But, do you wonder what kind of HST replacement we could have had already if we had not spent so much time and money on repairs?

      What do you mean, "already"? There would have had to have been a proposal many years ago in order to be operational today. As far as I know, the James Webb was the first space telescope proposed after Hubble, it's not supposed to go online until 2013, and there are no plans even as of today for a new visible light space telescope. Also as far as I know, the Hubble service missio

    • In addition to the previous posters, who seem pretty on top of it, identifying that repairs are still cheaper than a new one, I'd also point out that space-based visible telescopes aren't as important now as they were in the nineties. The main reason to get it off of the surface is to eliminate the 'seeing' effects of the atmosphere, the way turbulence distorts signals and reduces the maximum resolution to ~1 arcsec (I think). This is the same reason that the big ones are built in high, arid places.

      One of

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:12PM (#25573743)

    Wow, I didn't know it had a F8 key.

  • by roachdabug ( 1198259 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:15PM (#25573783)

    I guess now we can only get images in 640x480 with 256 colors...

  • by BUL2294 ( 1081735 ) on Thursday October 30, 2008 @03:32PM (#25574027)

    Well, at least they chose "Safe Mode with Networking" and now will be able to look at NTBTLOG.TXT from a distance. Of course, given that it takes up to 40 minutes for round-trip communications to happen, they had to change the default setting from 30 seconds to 2400+ seconds, otherwise the lander's would have died before loading the power monitoring service--resulting in an infinite loop.

  • One galaxy going _through_ another ?

    Mind boggling !

  • Cue the Electric Universe evangelists in 3 ... 2 ...
    Seriously, /. was full of them six months ago. I wonder where they all went?

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp