General, Research, Technology

How long will the Hubble telescope last?

Hubble Space Telescope named afterEdwin Hubble, one of the 20th century's most influential astronomers, was launched into orbit with the Discovery space shuttle on April 24, 1990. It is a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency and is currently located at an altitude of 569 kilometers. Due to its unique location, the 2.4-meter telescope mirror gives us an unprecedented window into the Universe for almost 30 years. For example, most recently, the telescope showed us 265,000 galaxies in one photograph. The use of the telescope is invaluable, but do you know how long it will last in space?

Hubble Space Telescope

How long do space telescopes “live”?

According to the astronomy, the best friend of every astronomer on the planet - the Hubble telescope - is about to prepare to retire. In the event that any unforeseen trouble can happen with the telescope that can make the main instruments of the device unusable, the telescope will continue its work until June 30, 2021. It was up to this date that NASA officially funded all of its operations in one way or another related to the space telescope.

See also: Hubble photographed a giant frightening face that looks at us from the depths of space

However, due to the fact that the Hubble telescopelocated in the boundary zone between the Earth’s atmosphere and Earth orbit, the device constantly experiences some resistance or friction from air particles when it revolves around the Earth. If NASA decides for some reason to extend the Hubble mission in 2021, then the device will ultimately crash to Earth by the mid-2030s, regardless of the operating state of the telescope.

Hubble telescope in orbit of the Earth

Despite the fact that at present mostThe telescope’s instruments are operating at full capacity, the respectable age of the space device is already beginning to take over. So, some parts of the Hubble no longer function properly, and the data received by the device needs further processing to guarantee the accuracy of the data received. However, even taking into account such limitations, experts admit that the telescope is still an invaluable asset for science.

By the way, you can find more information about the work and discoveries of the Hubble telescope in our channels in Telegram and Yandex.Zen.

The Importance of Mankind's Hubble Telescopeunlikely to disappear anytime soon. This is primarily due to the fact that the James Webb Space Telescope, also developed by NASA, is not a direct successor to Hubble. In fact, these two telescopes actually complement each other, because if the Hubble has limited capabilities in the near infrared wavelength range, the James Webb telescope is ideal for studying phenomena such as the formation of stars and planets, extremely distant galaxies and even the atmosphere of exoplanets, which best seen in the infrared. However, Hubble is best suited for observations in the ultraviolet and optical ranges of the light spectrum, and since the Earth’s atmosphere blocks most ultraviolet rays, the Hubble can see things that the James Webb telescope can never see.

In other words, there is a high probabilityNASA decides to extend Hubble’s operation in June 2021, provided that the telescope can still use at least some of its instruments. Otherwise, Hubble’s fate can be decided in the atmosphere of our planet when it, falling to the surface of the Earth, burns in its upper layers, like any other satellite designed by human hands.