Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Comment on the Hubble Telescope

Well, the shuttle Atlantis screams skyward tomorrow for one last mission to the Hubble. If you'd do me a little favor, at 1:01pm CDT tomorrow, stop whatever you're doing for a minute or two, say a little prayer, look up, and pump your fist a couple of times, because that's when they hit the LOUD button down there at Kennedy.

Frankly, for my money they could fold the tent on Hubble right now... if - IF - Atlantis would just pluck it out of orbit, pack it up, and bring it home to hang in the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum. The Hubble is a cultural and scientific icon of the highest order. The HIGHEST order. Not only has it sent back images far in excess of expectations, the damn thing was broke when it went up. Unfixable. A blurry, unfixable, screw-up of a white elephant. A laughing stock if there ever was one from our scientific community.

So what did NASA do?

They fixed it.

They sent Story Musgrave up to fix the thing so it could become something that, 500 years from now, will be mentioned in the same breath with Galileo. Musgrave should have his statue right beside Neil Armstrong, the crew of Apollo 13, and the crews of Challenger and Columbia - hell, they should print his face on money - for what he accomplished on the spacewalks he took.

Wish I had the energy... I'd start a grass roots campaign to bring it home.