Space Telescopes Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1194 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Astronomy

Space Telescopes

Ever since its launch in 1990, the Hubble telescope has been orbiting the Earth at 600 kilometers above, bringing valuable information and photos from space. Its history goes back to 1977, when the Congress approved the project funds. However, operations didn't take off until 1981, when the Space Telescope Science Institute was founded, designed especially for the production and research of the Hubble Space Telescope.

In 1990, on April, 25th, the telescope was deployed into orbit. Several problems appeared during the first years of use. An aberration in one of the mirrors was soon discovered and needed to be changed later in 1993. A new computer was installed in 1999 and the telescope was placed in "safe mode" after "the failure of a fourth gyroscope." However, it continued to produce generously relevant data on the Universe and its components.

One can never underestimate the importance and the extent of Hubble's accomplishments. Some facts and figures are relevant in this case. We should mention, for example, the fact that Hubble sends everyday 10 to 15 gigabytes of data to Earth. In total, up to the year 2000, Hubble has taken 330,000 separate observations, traveled close to 1,500 billion miles, created an archive of 7.3 terabytes and has observed close to 25,000 astronomical targets.

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The initial cost of the telescope was $2 billion. However, one may wonder what the costs of keeping it running every day are. According to Ed Weiler, NASA's chief Hubble scientist, "each American is paying less than $1 a year in taxes for the telescope - less than 2 cents a week." This calculation is a result of the $230 million needed to operate and maintain the Hubble.

2. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may be considered Hubble's successor in space, in case the latter is bound for retirement. The JWST is scheduled to be launched in 2011 and contains some last hour technologies. These include the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), the Optical Telescope Element (OTE) and the Space Support Module (SSM).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Space Telescopes Assignment

The Science module integrates some extremely performing instruments, such as the near infrared camera, the near infrared spectrograph and the detectors. Given the fact that its primary mission, initially, will be to study early galaxies that are better seen in infrared, as well as the birth and formation of stars and the origins of our planetary system, the telescope's detectors are of extremely high quality.

Further more, the telescope itself uses a new type of mirror, aimed at being able to perceive characteristics of galaxies billions of light years away. The primary mirror will be 6.5 meters in diameter. Compared to Hubble's 2.4 meters main mirror, the differences are obvious. The problem, however, is the fact that one needs to be able to build a 6.5 meter mirror that will also be light enough to be carried on board of the launching shuttle and, on the other hand, it needs to be strong enough.

The technology that JWST will be using is much more performing than the Hubble technology, simply because there is a 15-20-year generation gap between the two. Despite the four repairs that Hubble has sustained, it remains a telescope of the 90s. If we compare strictly in the area that JWST was conceived for (early galaxies, etc.), the Hubble could see up to 400 million years after Big Bang, while JWST will go back just 100 million years after the Big Bang. On the other hand, Hubble seems to have had a less specific mission, being predisposed to gathering general information on the Universe. JWST is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Space Telescopes" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Space Telescopes.  (2004, December 1).  Retrieved August 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Space Telescopes."  1 December 2004.  Web.  1 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Space Telescopes."  December 1, 2004.  Accessed August 1, 2021.