The Magnificence of the Hubble Telescope Space Mission
The mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope is a magnificent and historically important event. The images coming to us from space as the astronauts work on repairing the telescope are beautiful, up close and personal and once again instill awe in those of us that watch.
For most of my life the increasingly incredible pictures and videos that have come back from space have taken we humans out of our planetary realm and realities and lifted up into the cosmos. The world literally stopped and listened on transistor radios when John Glenn orbited earth in the early 1960s. The whole world watched as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in July 1969. The first space walks allowed us to live through others the almost unimaginable reality of a human floating freely in space.
Since then we have become detached from what NASA and other space agencies are doing up above as we have allowed ourselves to become somewhat jaded. The first time things happen we are captivated, as they continue in on-going frequency they seem to lose their impact. We no longer stop what we are doing to stand, listen and watch in awe. We again get absorbed both in our personal lives and the seemingly urgent and much more important political, cultural and economic dynamics of our world.
The Hubble telescope has been in orbit for 15 years. In that time it has altered the knowledge and theories scientists have held about the universe and its infiniteness. It has shown us evidence to alter our knowledge of the speed of the expansion of the universe. It has given us information that deepens our knowledge of black holes and black space.
Think of how important it has been when looked at within the history of humanity’s knowledge of outer space. It was just a few centuries ago that the first telescope was invented. This led to ever more powerful telescopes that were built on mountains and away from the glare of urban life. The Hubble for the first time allowed us to view, measure, study, investigate and marvel at the wonders of the Universe free from the atmosphere of earth.
This wonderful lens of knowledge and beauty is now is need of major repair. Its’ usefulness is dependent upon these needed repairs. When the Hubble was first launched, it was not built for easy maintenance, let alone maintenance done in space by humans in bulky space suits. There is therefore a lot of drama around this mission which is why it is something that, for the first time in a long time has captured our attention. There is drama on a daily basis. There are daily space walks by astronauts working in the weightlessness of space to repair a vehicle against incredible odds.
We are, as the human species, for the first time in years, rooting for the home team of humanity. On this mission, the astronauts represent us, we project ourselves to them. We want them to succeed. If they do, then this magnificent and historically significant Hubble telescope can live on in space and continue to expand our understanding of all that lies beyond our grasp as we look up into the infinite.
I find myself fascinated by this entire mission. It is all about taking care of something that has given us so much, the way some of us lovingly maintain cars that have taken us to places and given us experiences we will never forget. It is about maintaining the ongoing quest for knowledge, about maintaining our window on the cosmos. The dedicated astronauts are on a mission for us all. Join me in rooting for humanity’s home team this week.