Who will rescue Hubble Space Telescope from certain death? | Tech News

Who will rescue Hubble Space Telescope from certain death?

  • The Hubble Space Telescope needs rescuing or else it will die a fiery death in the Earth's atmosphere and end up in the Pacific Ocean.

| Updated on: May 20 2023, 23:07 IST
Spectacular NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Eagle Nebula, Dark Sunspots and more
Hubble Space Telescope
1/5 The mesmerizing Eagle Nebula (May 15) - This is a snapshot of M16, also known as the Eagle Nebula which spans about 20 light-years across. The nebula, discovered in 1745 by the Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux, is located 7,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens, according to NASA. (NASA/Gianni Lacroce)
Hubble Space Telescope
2/5 Sun’s Corona visible during solar eclipse (May 16) - Sun’s Corona was shot during a total solar eclipse. Temperatures in the Sun’s Corona can reach up to 2 million degrees and it is also the region where solar wind originates, according to NASA. While the hottest part of the Sun is its core, one of its most puzzling features is its Corona which extends more than 1 million kilometers from its surface. (NASA/Reinhold Wittich)
Hubble Space Telescope
3/5 Sun’s Dark Sunspots (May 17) - Sunspots on the surface of the Sun in the active region AR 3297 were captured in this image. According to NASA, Sunspots are dark areas on the solar surface that contain strong magnetic fields that are constantly shifting and can form and dissipate over periods of days or weeks. They occur when strong magnetic fields emerge through the solar surface and allow the area to cool slightly. (NASA/Mark Johnston)
Hubble Space Telescope
4/5 Breathtaking WR134 Ring Nebula (May 18) -  It is a breathtaking snapshot of the WR134 Ring Nebula, located about 6000 light-years from Earth towards the constellation Cygnus. At the center of the Nebula is the Wolf Rayet star WR 134 named after French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. (NASA/Craig Stocks)
Hubble Space Telescope
5/5 Snapshot of M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy (May 19) - The celestial object captured in this image is the M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy which is located about 30 million light-years away towards the constellation Canes Venatici. Also known as NGC 5055, this spiral galaxy spans almost 100,000 light-years. Spiral Galaxies like M63 are disks of stars, gas, and dust that have bright bulges in their centers made up primarily of older and dimmer stars. (NASA/Sophie Paulin/Jens Unger/Jakob Sahner)
Hubble Space Telescope
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The Hubble Space Telescope can be seen as it is suspended in space. (AP)

The iconic Hubble Space Telescope has been throwing mind-moggling revelations into the world of astronomers and educating everyone about what inhabits deep space and even looks back into time to show what our primmitive universe was like. Now, with age catching up, is it time for the Hubble Telescope to die?

Not if two private companies have anything to do with it. They are a-raring to go and rescue the leviathan up there in the sky. Thankfully, it is in Earth orbit unlike its heir, the James Webb Space Telescope which is a million miles from Earth, in Sun orbit.

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Launched in 1990, Hubble is well past its prime and its computers keep crashing. But it is still providing amazing data.

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However, it is gradually being pulled back towards Earth by around 2030 it will be all over for it. In short, it will meet a fiery fate unless someone steps up and boosts the telescope back into a safer orbit.

While SpaceX's famous CEO Elon Musk wants to help and everyone knows about, there are a couple of smaller unknown companies that are already working on the technology - a robot. The idea is for the robot to grab the telescope amd boost it at least a 100 km higher in Earth's orbit. The companies are Astroscale, Momentus.

Notably, it has already cost the NASA/ESA over $15 billion to run the telescope and the question is, is it worth saving, especially with the James Webb Telescope already successfully working.

The answer to that is a yes for a number of reasons, not least of which is that two eyes in the sky are always better than one. Considering that James Webb Telescope was damaged by a small asteroid early in its flight, the chances of another mishap cannot be ruled out.

Also, space is wide and even these 2 telescopes cannot cover it all.

Now, it all comes down to who is willing to spend the money, millions of dollars, to further the interests of science. SpaceX has the money, while Astroscale and Momentus are young companies with the enthusiasm to match, but the money may well be tight.

Public-private partnership? The ball is in NASA's court.

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First Published Date: 20 May, 23:07 IST