Science administrator Ed Weiler is retiring after almost 33 years at NASA.
Among Weiler’s many achievements, he was crucial to getting the Hubble Space Telescope launched. Even more important, though others had conceived the idea of using the shuttle to maintain Hubble, he designed the maintenance schedule for the telescope. Seven years before it was launched, he insisted that a regular schedule of repair missions be placed on the shuttle manifest. He also insisted that a duplicate of the telescope’s main camera be built, so that if anything went wrong with the first a repaired unit could be launched quickly. It was his foresight here that made the first repair of Hubble in December 1993 go so smoothly. For this, astronomers will always be grateful.
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.
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