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Hubble goes into safe mode

Due to a software issue, the Hubble Space Telescope shifted into safe mode early yesterday and stopped doing its programmed science observations.

The engineers seem confident all will eventually be well, but we must also remember the telescope’s infrastructure (not its instruments) was built in the early 1980s and has been in space since 1990. That makes many parts of this telescope 40 years old. We are increasingly faced with the possibility of a fatal fault occurring that shuts it down for good, with no way at the present time to reach it and fix it, and with the only comparable optical space telescope in the works one being built by China to fly in formation with its space station.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • eddie willers

    Not too bad when you consider that when it took first light, it was fuzzy as hell. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as disappointed as when they figured out is wasn’t a simple collimation problem, but an actual flaw with the primary mirror!

    That someone was smart enough to make corrective lens for the collector, and with good old Story Musgrave doing the installation, they made a silk purse out of that sow’s ear. Then we get that wonderful picture of the Eagle Nebula!

    So, well done, good and faithful servant.

  • John Fisher

    Wonder what Space X would charge for a service mission?

  • Col Beausabre

    “Wonder what Space X would charge for a service mission

    As everyone knows, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it

  • Ray Van Dune

    “SpaceX StarShip Production Planning…”

    “This is Elon…”


    “Move the ‘Chomper’ configuration up to first position in the Production flow!”

    “Yessir!! Done!”

  • Jeff Wright

    I think it was a NOVA special that had a bit on how a sliding shower fixture inspired a repair tube. This is why I wanted a side mount SLS back during the SLI days of the 9o’s. Keep the orbiters flying Buran style. Maybe capsule servicing is doable. Starship might retrieve it-but it would knock about. Falcon Heavy with an unmanned tug might shove it to ISS over time. That would save the mirror from stress. You have to baby these things.

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