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The Hubble Problem: Scientists Try To Pick Up The Pieces

As the shock over the mirror defect in the Hubble Space Telescope begins to wear off, some 1,000 astronomers, many of whom had anticipated funding from NASA and all of whom expected unprecedented pictures and data from the $1.6 billion instrument, are trying to salvage their research plans. Scientists at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C., the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) in Baltimore, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and here throughout the world are analyzing

Robin Eisner

As the shock over the mirror defect in the Hubble Space Telescope begins to wear off, some 1,000 astronomers, many of whom had anticipated funding from NASA and all of whom expected unprecedented pictures and data from the $1.6 billion instrument, are trying to salvage their research plans.

Scientists at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C., the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) in Baltimore, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and here throughout the world are analyzing results of extensive testing of the telescope while re-evaluating their projects so that observation time on the telescope can be rescheduled and funding can be reworked. At the same time, astronomers and administrators alike are trying to squeeze as much good science as possible out of the scope in its current state.

Only the fine guidance sensors used to point the Hubble telescope and measure star positions are not affected by the...

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