At this moment astronauts are zooming through space, caught in the Earth’s orbit, grappling with an object the size of a school bus, on a mission to preserve one of the most scientifically important and iconoclastic man-made objects of the 20th century.
Whew! Another embarrassing emotional outburst has been averted. I am very sentimental about our space program. You see, I will cry like a baby when the Hubble Telescope barrels to Earth some sad day in the near future and careens into an ocean to be fished out and put on display in the nation’s museum as a reminder of our past instead of a symbol of our present. It’s difficult to explain to people why I get all teary-eyed and snorty when I talk about the telescope and what it has meant to me to come of age at the same time as Hubble. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, I don’t need any further explanation. For those of you who don’t relate, I can’t explain any further.
The Hubble Space Telescope, named for renowned astronomer, Edwin Hubble, has taken over 100,000 images in its lifetime and many of those images have come to represent our collective understanding of what it looks like “out there” in the cold expanse of space.
What would modern pop culture be without the Hubble’s contribution to our imaginations? Well, just look at the original Star Trek series compared to the recent Star Trek movie release. It’s a pretty dramatic shift!
Hubble turns 19 this year. How old is that in people years? Funny thing about the Hubble images; they make me feel much younger when I’m looking at them. Perhaps that is because I am seeing something so indescribably old in these photos of ephemeral, twisting, spiraling, spewing galaxies that I feel like a curious child. I could wax poetic and go on and on but I have much to do.
For anyone with more time on their hands and who is as geeky about the telescope as I am, here are directions on how to make a very lifelike model.
Astronauts Begin Spacewalk Marathon to Fix Hubble, Tariq Malik, Space.com, 5/14/09
Hubble Celebrates it’s 19th Anniversary with a “Fountain of Youth”