Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hubble Space Telescope Launch 20th Anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, named for renowned astronomer Edwin Hubble.

On April 24, 1990 the Hubble Space telescope was launched on the STS-31 mission. It was the culmination of the dreams of many astronomers and astrophysicists to have a telescope in low Earth orbit free of the distortion of our atmosphere.

It was designed to be serviced in space, and that part of its design turned out to be fortuitous.

Not long after its deployment in space, it was discovered that one of the mirrors had a flaw that caused fuzzy images instead of the promised clear ones.

But after five repair missions starting in 1993, the Hubble was repaired, and we Earthlings began to be treated to some spectacular photos.

It also provided scientists with answers to some questions about our universe, debunked others and created new ones.

The Hubble 20 years later has exceeded expectations. Its lifespan has been extended until a new and improved space telescope can be deployed in 2014.

So happy launch anniversary Hubble. And keep those beautiful photos coming.

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