S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, November 12, 2007

NASA's hubba hubba - Columbus and Hubble

(Image - one of the top ten favorites from the Hubble Telescope Gallery)
NASA's web site carried the news that the International Space Station crew is making good progress in their preparation for next month's arrival of Atlantis with its long awaited Columbus payload, which I forgot to mention in one of my most recent NASA posts, "Cooperation and teamwork bring success to NASA."
This morning the ISS crew remotely moved a component; Wednesday they will do another remote relocation of the space station reassembled component, "Harmony". If all goes well in the demanding dance of this timeline, "Columbus" will be brought to the ISS in early December. To quote from ESA's Columbus web page,
The Columbus laboratory is ESA's biggest single contribution to the International Space Station. The 4.5-metre diameter cylindrical module is equipped with flexible research facilities that offer extensive science capabilities.

During its 10-year projected lifespan, Earth-based researchers, together with the ISS crew, will be able to conduct thousands of experiments in life sciences, materials science, fluid physics and a whole host of other disciplines, all in the weightlessness of orbit.

To keep costs low and reliability high, Columbus shares its basic structure and life-support systems with the Italian Space Agency's Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLM). But whereas the MPLM is aptly described as a 'space moving van' - albeit a very sophisticated moving van - the 75 cubic metres of space inside Columbus contains an entire suite of science laboratories.
To its credit and despite the risks, NASA is so far keeping its commitment to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble's Servicing Mission 4 is scheduled for August 7, 2008. To quote from the story:
NASA has selected a crew for the upcoming servicing, and the astronauts have begun training. SM4 has an ambitious program of activities and three main objectives.

Veteran astronaut Scott D. Altman will command the final space shuttle mission to Hubble. Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory C. Johnson will serve as pilot. Mission specialists include veteran spacewalkers John M. Grunsfeld and Michael J. Massimino, and first-time space fliers Andrew J. Feustel, Michael T. Good and K. Megan McArthur. Grunsfeld and Altman have visited Hubble on previous servicing missions.

The first objective is to extend Hubble's operational life by at least five years. . .The second objective is to enhance Hubble's scientific power. . .The third objective is to repair Hubble's out-of-commission instruments, the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).
If these objectives can be successfully carried out during the servicing mission, then Hubble will be at the apex of its scientific capability, with six working, complementary science instruments. These upgrades will keep Hubble functioning at the pinnacle of astronomy well into the next decade.
Hubble essentials:
The Hubble Space Telescope's launch in 1990 sped humanity to one of its greatest advances in that journey. Hubble is a telescope that orbits Earth. Its position above the atmosphere, which distorts and blocks the light that reaches our planet, gives it a view of the universe that typically far surpasses that of ground-based telescopes.

Hubble is one of NASA's most successful and long-lasting science missions. It has beamed hundreds of thousands of images back to Earth, shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy. Its gaze has helped determine the age of the universe, the identity of quasars, and the existence of dark energy.
Right now the Hubble Space Telescope is over the Pacific Ocean.

My links:
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is about variety.
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