Hubble gets revitalised in new servicing mission
Hubble Space Telescope (HST), courtesy of NASA
After nearly 12 years of incredible scientific discoveries, the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope orbiting Earth is about to have another service visit. The purpose is to upgrade Hubble system and to install newer and more powerful instruments that will astoundingly increase Hubble’s discovery capabilities and extend the longevity of the observatory.
As a unique collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA), and NASA, Hubble has had a phenomenal scientific impact. The unsurpassed sharp images from this space observatory have penetrated into the hidden depths of space and revealed breathtaking phenomena. But Hubble’s important contributions to science have only been possible through a carefully planned strategy to service and upgrade Hubble every two or three years.
ESA, the European Space Agency has a particular role to play in this Servicing Mission. One of the most exciting events of this mission will come when the ESA-built solar panels are replaced by newer and more powerful ones. The new panels, developed in the US, are equipped with ESA developed drive mechanisms and were tested at the facilities at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. This facility is the only place in the world where such tests can be performed.
"With this Servicing Mission Hubble is once again going to be brought back to the frontline of scientific technology", says Piero Benvenuti, Hubble Project Scientist at ESA. "New super-advanced instrumentation will revitalise the observatory. For example, Hubble’s new digital camera - The new Advanced Camera for Surveys, or ACS - can take images of twice the area of the sky and with five times the sensitivity of Hubble’s previous instruments, therefore increasing by ten times Hubble’s discovery capability! The European astronomers look forward to use the new camera and perform new science building on the great breakthroughs they have already achieved."
ACS is going to replace the Faint Object Camera, or FOC, built by ESA. The FOC, which has functioned perfectly since the beginning, has been a key instrument to get the best out of the unprecedented imaging capability of Hubble. The FOC was a "state-of-the art" instrument in the 80s, but the field of digital imaging has progressed so much in the past 20 years that, having fulfilled its scientific goals, this ESA flagship on Hubble is chivalrously giving way to newer technology.
However, the story of FOC is not over yet: experts will still learn from it, as it will be brought back to Earth and inspected, to study the effects on the hardware of the long duration exposure in space.
Hubble is expected to continue to explore the sky during the next decade, after which its work will be taken over by its successor, the powerful ESA/NASA/CSA(*) Next Generation Space Telescope. NGST’s main focus will be observations of the faint infrared light from the first stars and galaxies in the Universe.
Basque researchers turn light upside down
23.02.2018 | Elhuyar Fundazioa
Attoseconds break into atomic interior
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy