Monday, January 29, 2007

"Hubble's primary camera shuts down"

This is disappointing.

BALTIMORE - The primary camera on the Hubble Space Telescope has shut down and is likely to be only marginally restored, NASA said Monday, a collapse one astronomer called "a great loss."

While other scientific work can still be done by the aging observatory, the unit that failed, the Advanced Camera for Surveys, is the one most scientists depend upon. NASA scientists say they expect to be able to restore just one-third of its observation ability, probably by mid-February.

"We're not optimistic at all" about returning it to full function, said Dave Leckrone, a senior scientist on the Hubble at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.

But, it's really not all that bad.
However, all is not lost. Next year NASA plans to send space shuttle astronauts to upgrade the popular telescope in a mission to install new instruments that will actually exceed the capabilities of the current system.
Let's hope we get many more stunning images from this machine, images like this.

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