Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hubble's fix'n for an upgrade.

NASA Shuttle Mission STS-125 is currently performing spacewalks to repair and replace cameras on the Hubble Space Telescope. You can watch it live on NASA TV. Thanks to the internets you don't need one of those old school humongous satellite dishes to watch NASA TV (like when I was a kid).

On the average day, highlights from NASA TV will include watching people milling around mission control and drinking their coffee. However, the current repair mission includes 5 spacewalks. The crew concluded the first walk today and plans to conduct one a day for the next four days. Watching some of today's spacewalk really gave me a sense of how life in space is much different from the movies. The first thing I noticed is that astronauts don't actually move in slow motion. This sounds strange and obvious but just watch and see how your astronaut intuition is skewed. Secondly, astronauts are people too. Even though the space walk missions are thoroughly planned, there are always difficulties and problems that come up. Let's just say its like bit like the Mythbusters meets Cspan.

The NY Times has an impressive interactive animation that illustrate the repairs planned for the Hubble telescope.

The amazing photo blog, The Big Picture from the Boston Globe, documented the preparation for the current STS-125 repair mission. Did we already mention that these photos are spectacular? You really get a feeling for the size of the rocket boosters and the giant orange monster fuel tank. Speaking of orange, be sure to wave and say hello to Megan as you scroll through the pictures.

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