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This is a normal post TESS is scanning 400 times more than Kepler did
...so launching Kepler would be stupid, grandad.

Kepler scanned for planets, Hubble looks at the ones it finds. TESS is the new Kepler, JWST will be the new Hubble. "Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite", launched in April this year, a 2-year mission. Kepler found 2,327 interesting Earth-like exoplanets; TESS is likely to find about a million. It's quite likely that JWST will find signs of alien life.


Hubble changed the way we view our universe, and so will JWST. Think of the images from Hubble that are embedded in the psyche - the "Pale Blue Dot", the "pillars of creation", and so many more. JWST is a huge leap forward.

Don't misunderstand - nobody is more frustrated with the delays than I am. But if it goes wrong, we cannot fix it, as we did with Hubble; it'll be far too far away. It needs to be right, and if that means it takes a few more years, then so be it. It's probably the most important space launch since 1969.




(, Fri 20 Jul 2018, 0:34, Reply)
This is a normal post FFS, I picked that as an example. I didn't literally mean they should launch 20 more of them
JWST is a huge leap forward in keeping Lockheed Martin's balance sheet looking healthy while delivering nothing. Literally nothing. They've got a telescope sitting in a building that keeps failing it's testing. It is now 12 years late and 16x over budget and the loss of science that should have been done by those funds should appal you.

$18 Billion is in the same ballpark as the cost of every other space telescope COMBINED. Is it really going to produce more science than all of them?

Worse still, by the time it is finally ready for launch (and you're a fool if you believe the 2021 launch date) the technologies that forced it to be so expensive (mainly the folding mirror) will be obsolete. A 6.4m mirror would fit into the BFR or New Glenn launch vehicles without folding. BFR will allow you to build a telescope with a 9m mirror.

They should have iterated on Hubble. Instead of a 2.5m mirror, build one with a 4m mirror. It fits in the available launch vehicles. You'd have it flying within five years. Then as technology improves, iterate on it again. And again. Using this process and a fraction of the budget you'd have a third generation already flying by now and making real discoveries instead of having tools dropped in them and incurring another three year delay.
(, Fri 20 Jul 2018, 13:38, Reply)
This is a normal post You make some interesting points,
-especially about folding mirrors and "what if" we had made a Hubble Mk 2 and 3 - so I intend to research it more.

I honestly do think it could well produce more science than all other telescopes combined. I think there is a case to say that Hubble has... would you disagree? It's certainly expanded and radically changed our knowledge of the entire universe.

I'd certainly love to see a 4m scope in 5 years, of course. Would you stick it out in L2, or have it orbital? I mean... we've serviced Hubble 5 times and upgraded everything; that's not feasible at L2. And if it was just in an Earth orbit, would it really be a great benefit above telescopes such as Keck?

I do not anticipate a 2021 launch, but I hope that cartoon is reasonably on-point, that it will be closer to 2025 than 2030. Seems likely we'll have people back on the Moon by then, and maybe the first to Mars. Exciting times.
(, Fri 20 Jul 2018, 18:02, Reply)
This is a normal post
Well I included Hubble as part of the "all the other telescopes". At $1.5bn it seems like a bargain.

The L2 orbit was presumably chosen for JWST to limit the interference from Earth, but that adds to the mission risk as it puts it a long way out of the reach of a servicing mission. There's no sending parts up to fix it if it doesn't work first time. With this in mind, sending it up with a folding mirror seems foolish in the extreme. All the components have to come together flawlessly to a tolerance of tiny fractions of a millimetre in order for you not to end up with another Hubble-style blurfest. Given this thing is going to have the crap pounded out of it at launch and have to face the rigours of deep space, the risk seems extraordinary.

If you could get a 4m mirror out at that range then there's no reason to think that it couldn't perform a good percentage of the JWST mission. It would certainly be better than having a 6.4m one stuck in a hangar.

(Edited for clarity)
(, Fri 20 Jul 2018, 20:03, Reply)
This is a normal post Nail on the head
To see further, we really need it in L2. If it's in L2, we can't get to it for repairs.

A 15+ year delay is fucking ridiculous and terrible, but it pales in comparison with it not working.

Incidentally, I have spoken with a Lockheed Martin eng who is working on a project to recover Hubble, bring it back to Earth; but don't hold your breath, I think that's unlikely to be worth the hassle for the sake of a museum piece.
(, Fri 20 Jul 2018, 20:30, Reply)