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The Hubble turns 25

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 02:45

The Hubble telescope turns 25, marking a milestone in the history of space exploration. As Pavithra George reports, NASA is celebrating the technology, saying Hubble has ''rewritten the text books.''

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If you've ever taken a selfie, you have the Hubble telescope to thank for it. The Hubble is now 25 years year old…and project scientist Kenneth Carpenter says it has exceeded everyone's expectations not just for discovery in space, but also here on Earth.... (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. KENNETH G. CARPENTER, PROJECT SCIENTIST FOR HUBBLE OPERATIONS SAYING: "A lot of the technology advancements that have happened with TVs, and cellphones - Technology improvements were driven by the need to create very robust very cheap, very small electronics for spacecraft like Hubble." On April 24th 1990, the Hubble orbiting telescope was launched into space aboard the Shuttle Discovery, with the promise of exploring deep space. This was no ordinary telescope--- unlike its land-based peers the Hubble would enjoy a clear, uninterrupted view from its space-based perch far above the earth. Among its many accomplishments…the Hubble Deep Field---a composite made up of images showing a sliver of space in the constellation Ursa Major, brimming with young galaxies. . We only know of their existence, because of the Hubble. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. KENNETH G. CARPENTER, PROJECT SCIENTIST FOR HUBBLE OPERATIONS SAYING: "It has been a huge success story, probably NASA's biggest success story over the years, at least outside of the manned space program." But like every success story, the Hubble's journey was not without its problems. Soon after launch, NASA discovered its multi-billion dollar eye in the sky had blurry vision, and in 1993, shuttle astronauts had to install a fix. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. KENNETH G. CARPENTER, PROJECT SCIENTIST FOR HUBBLE OPERATIONS SAYING: "So, at first this looked like the biggest disaster. NASA's pride and joy, the biggest telescope in space in years doesn't focus. The pictures aren't any better than they are on the ground." The repairs improved the quality of the pictures, giving scientists - and the general public - vibrant snapshots of the universe. The telescope has also provided evidence for an anti-gravitational force called "dark energy", that some scientists hypothesize is a major factor as to why and how the universe is expanding at an increasingly faster rate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. KENNETH G. CARPENTER, PROJECT SCIENTIST FOR HUBBLE OPERATIONS SAYING: "I think it is not an overstatement to say that we have rewritten the text books; that our view of the universe has actually changed as a result of what Hubble has shown us." Since 1990, Hubble has made more than 1.2 million observations. Its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope will peer farther into space than any other instrument, building on Hubble's unprecedented success to unlock the secrets of the universe.

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The Hubble turns 25

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 02:45