The Mind of James Donahue

Shutting Down

Aaron's Magick
Political Art
Genesis Revised
About Aaron
About James Donahue
Many Things
Sealing Wax
Sea Is Boiling
Pigs With Wings
Goetia Spirits
Book Of The Law
Radio Aaron
Hot Links
Page 2
Main Page
VOL 2005
VOL 2006
News Hour Archives

The End Is Near For Mighty Hubble


By James Donahue


The great Hubble Telescope has begun to fail and the Bush Administration is not interested in doing anything to save it.


With its batteries expected to fail in another two or three years, NASA reports that one of the four main astronomical instruments on the space-based telescope has unexpectedly shut down.


This instrument, the an imaging spectrograph, splits light into colors and helps astronomers determine things like the age of the universe, planet forming environments around the stars and study black holes.


In other words, one of the eyes of the great telescope has just closed, and ground operators aren’t sure why, or if they can get it open again.


Ever since President George W. Bush announced plans for a new manned space mission back to the moon and then on to Mars, federal dollars have been slashed for many of the older NASA programs, including shuttle trips to continue maintenance on Hubble.


That our shuttle flights have been grounded since the Columbia disaster in February, 2003, has struck a significant blow to the overall NASA space program. The United States has been relying on Russian shuttles to keep the International Space Station manned.


Since its launch in 1990, Hubble has been giving astronomers all over the world amazingly clear images that have been slowly unlocking the secrets of the Universe. It hovers at 375 miles above the Earth, out where the pictures it sends are unobstructed by clouds, weather and smog.


Every day, Hubble delivers from 10 and 15 gigabytes of information to astronomers. As of March, 2000, the telescope recorded more than 330,000 observations, examined over 25,000 targets, and sent information for over 2,665 scientific papers.


The telescope has given us more insight and more knowledge about our universe and our own solar system than all of the space probes combined, including our manned trips to the moon.


Hubble was especially designed to be operational for many years, but its replaceable components were dependent on routine maintenance by visiting astronauts. By ignoring this amazing eye on the stars, we are in danger of losing it forever.


It is tragic that the Bush Administration is so intent on military dominance in space, that it is willing to shut off a program as valuable as Hubble.