18 January 2004

Say goodnight, Hubble

I'm more than a little dismayed at the news NASA dropped Friday, that they have canceled all servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope.  And I have more trouble with the reasoning, that the money committed to Hubble needs to go instead to the president's initiative to go back to the moon and put astronauts on Mars.

I've been an astronomy junkie most of my life.  I would be spending my life sequestered in the catacombs of a huge radio telescope somewhere if I ever could have grasped the concept of physics.  Nothing I've done or accomplished on this Earth quite compares to looking up at the stars while standing in the middle of nowhere trying to contemplate what it all is.  I still have newspapers chronicling the achievements of the Voyager and Pioneer spacecrafts as they photographed the outer planets of our Solar System, events we had to wait years in between for, as the vessels crept towards their next destination.

Hubble changed all that.  Hubble brought the stars and nebulas millions and millions of years away to us, and did it in an astronomical heartbeat.  I'd rather continue seeing the edges of the Universe than Man's footprints on Mars.  I know Hubble was not meant to last forever, but it is wrong to speed up its demise.  Because of Hubble,  tonight I can go outside, find the Plaedies and know what color the gas is that radiates from its center.  I'm not prepared to give up that type of knowledge just so that someone can step on Mars probably after I have left this world. 

1 comment:

ptscarey86 said...

i agree totally. although perhaps i would not mind spending the money on sending bush to the moon, now and permanently!!! :)