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.
Astronomers discover class of strange objects near our galaxy's enormous black hole
16.01.2020 | University of California - Los Angeles
MOSHEMT—innovative transistor technology reaches record frequencies
16.01.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF
Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.
Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...
In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.
The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...
Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...
Researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keep them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.
Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours. With the novel perfusion technology, livers - and even injured livers - can now...
A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch.
SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins...
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
07.01.2020 | Event News
17.01.2020 | Life Sciences
17.01.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
17.01.2020 | Life Sciences