Thursday, 14 May 2009

Hubble

For some reason CNN is one of the only channels that I can access from my room here in Prague that is not either in czech or featuring arabic telephone sex commercials. One thing I saw there were some pretty amazing bulls and bears that reminded me of N. N. Taleb. But I also saw some exciting space shuttle features. I like space shuttles but I am wondering what they are actually good for. (I am not an expert on space shuttles but I did once hear an astronomer talk about them.)

As I understand it, a space shuttle is like a Porsche. It's exciting, it's prestigious, but it does not really get you anywhere you could not go without it. (The advantage is that a space shuttle is not as noisy and does not cause traffic jams that I have to carefully bypass on my bicycle without collecting any mirrors.) The question that the people at CNN never asked any of the space shuttle experts is how sending up a 7 austronauts and assembling a telescope in deep space compares to assembling the telescope down here and sending it up by itself. I guess a space shuttle is a nice piece of science fiction, without the need of fiction, but probably not the most cost efficient way of having a telescope in the sky.

1 comment:

Winston said...

I think the idea below is to perform such tasks which are impossible to perform on earth.
e.g. when Hubble was down, you could either build a new telescope or repair it under zero gravity.
No way to do it without space shuttle.