Saturday, 5 February 2005

Hubble Replacement Revisited

In an earlier post on 25th January, I commented that :
The Robotic Rescue Scenario was the only one that stood a chance of being affordable. If the budgetary estimation for that is over $1 Billion, then it is probably cheaper and easier to replace the Hubble with a new, improved model.
Now here's some news (2nd February, one week later than my article). From :
The world faces a dilemma: how to keep the flow of science and discovery from the ailing Hubble Space Telescope alive. According to an international team led by Johns Hopkins University astronomers, the best answer may lie not in a robot-led or manned repair mission, but through the launch of a brand new, free-flying telescope called the "Hubble Origins Probe."
HOP Hubble ReplacementIntended to replicate and to improve upon the design of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Hubble Origins Probe offers an option that is low on risk yet high on scientific returns, according to Norman, principal investigator for the team that also includes Johns Hopkins astronomers Holland Ford, Warren Moos and Tim Heckman.

For instance, HOP would make use of instruments - the Cosmic Origins Spectograph (COS) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) - originally built to be installed on Hubble during its fourth service mission. In addition, it would include a new Very Wide-Field Imager that would "greatly enhance the original science mission of Hubble," Norman testified.

That Very Wide-Field Imager, slated to be built in collaboration with Japanese partners who will underwrite the cost, will allow scientists to map the heavens more than 20 times faster than even a refurbished Hubble Space Telescope could, Norman said. What's more, the new Japanese camera will be open for use by the worldwide astronomical community based on a peer review system in the same way that all Hubble instruments have been.

Norman told the committee that it would take an estimated 65 months and $1 billion to launch HOP
Told ya.

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