Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kiss Hubble Goodbye

Into Eli's mailbox floated this

NASA is placing RFI NNH09ZDA010L ("Feasibility of using Constellation Architecture for Servicing Existing and Future Observatory-Class Scientific Spacecraft") on hold. The August 10 due date for information in the form of a white paper is cancelled; no new due date is announced at this time. The "Workshop I" described in NNH09ZDA010L will not occur in June; a new date has not been established at this time. Updates will be made available at http://ServicingStudy.gsfc.nasa.gov/ regarding revised study plans and opportunities for community involvement. Any new workshop or white paper opportunities will be announced through a new RFI.
The bunnies will gather at 17:00 in the usual place for the wake. Comments?


Marion Delgado said...

In fairness, spending the cost of 5 Hubbles plus eternal maintenance for them on a new accelerator would both provide a 1 in 1000 chance of finding a Higgs boson and also eliminate a trillionth of a percent of plausible string landscapes.

We need to tighten our belts and prioritize - we haven't even budgeted the next set of wars and financial panics yet.

Hank Roberts said...

But for every cloud there's a sunbeam:

bluegrue said...

I hope the James Webb observatory will launch on schedule and Hubble holds out so long, so we do not lose the visual spectrum. In the meantime there's also ESA's Herschel covering the infrared in the range of 55 to 672 µm and with better resolution than Spitzer.

jg said...

As much as a like the Hubble Space Telescope, or any telescope for that matter, I'm swayed by the potential of adaptive optics (AO) on much larger and easier to maintain ground-based telescopes.

Here's a link comparing the image resolution of the Palomar 200-inch with AO to the Hubble:

Palomar vs Hubble

Though local light pollution wipes out the fainter stars in the Palomar photo, the remaining stars are better resolved.

The full page is here:
Palomar's adaptive optics

I'd like to see a fraction of the money of a Hubble service mission used to buy better lights for the cities near Palomar -- another of those help-the-environment-by-helping-science solutions.

John G

EliRabett said...

Webb will not be a visible observatory.


bluegrue said...

Webb will not be a visible observatory.


EliRabett said...

It's really an interesting question as we use all sorts of visualization tools to sense at the smallest and largest dimensions, in all but the literal, we really are seeing beyond the visible. OTOH if you want a bar room brawl get a bunch of Hell's Chemists together and discuss whether spectroscopy applies to anything but the visible.

Flavius Collium said...

Constellation as it is will not live long.

If you're really interested, follow nasaspaceflight.com - it's the only media outlet with sources behind the iron curtain of NASA.