Just recently, NASA decided to fix the Hubble, a decision applauded by all those who are interested in space (and, since Mr. Thursday is interested in everything, we’re interested in space). The picture above is one of hundreds, taken by the Hubble, that can be found here.
We applaud all things unusual and unique here, and the Hubble is no exception. While it’s certainly not Earth’s largest telescope–Hubble’s lens is a mere 2.4 meters across, compared to a number of telescopes possessing lenses upward of 10 meters–it bares that oh-so-fantastic distinction of actually being IN SPACE.
Earth’s atmosphere is dense and frankly, it’s blurry. So all those lovely Earth-scopes, big as they may be, get pictures with atmos-crud on them. While computers can edit out a lot of this, they are somewhat restricted in their abilities to view things that are really, really far away. That’s why telescopes on mountains in Hawaii have to be so much larger. Stick a small telescope in orbit (no small task) and you can look at nebulae for 1000 years and keep finding new stuff.
As much as Mr. Thursday is rooting for NASA to get to the moon and Mars and everywhere else, we’re pleased as punch that our favorite space-camera is going to get fixed and maintained for more pictures. Because as cool as space exploration is, we’re still a few years away from chartered flights around the moon, and we don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have pretty pictures of quarks to comfort us.