Seeing as I’ve not posted for three days I thought I should get something up here, but I haven’t had much to say in part because my shift at work the past two days has been canceled and my usual web browsing routine has been altered as a result. One thing I did stumble upon last night was a Nova special on PBS called Hubble’s Amazing Rescue that I thought was worth sharing. Here’s the show description:
The best-known scientific instrument in history was dying. After nearly 20 years in space and hundreds of thousands of spectacular images, the Hubble Space Telescope’s gyroscopes and sensors were failing, its batteries running down, and some of its instruments were already dead. The only hope to save Hubble was a mission so dangerous that in 2004 NASA cancelled it because it was considered too risky.
Scientists and the general public alike stubbornly refused to abandon the telescope, and a new NASA administrator revived the mission. This program takes viewers behind the scenes on a riveting journey with the team of astronauts and engineers charged with saving the famous “orbiting observatory” against all odds.
Hubble had been serviced four times before, including the famous 1993 repair mission that had corrected its blurred vision. But all previous missions had involved replacements, not actual repairs. Astronauts undid latches, removed a balky module, and replaced it with a new one. This mission would be different. Two of Hubble’s instruments—a camera and a spectrograph—had died, and no replacements existed. To revive them, astronauts would attempt procedures never before tried in space: opening up electronic assemblies, getting “into the guts,” and performing delicate tasks previously thought impossible.
I remember being disappointed when I heard they weren’t going to fix the Hubble and then elated when the decision was reversed. And boy was it worth it. Some of the pictures from the newly restored Hubble are absolutely stunning and the story of how they fixed the Hubble is equally amazing. You can watch it online for free at the official website.