El mito de la reparación del Hubble

Robert L. Park, autor de Ciencia o vudú, envía todos los viernes una newsletter llamada What’s New dedicada a, bueno, básicamente a lo mismo que el libro: todo aquello que podría confundirse con la ciencia pero que en realidad no lo es. En la de ayer había una nota curiosa con respecto al vuelo espacial tripulado, del que Park es muy crítico, y el telescopio espacial Hubble.

For the first time, the need for a human presence in space is being questioned openly on Capitol Hill. But at a House Science Committee hearing yesterday, Sean O’Keefe invoked the Hubble repairs as an example of man doing what robot could not. It’s a NASA myth; Hubble was designed to be serviced. It was supposed to be like calling AAA for a jump start; NASA promised a shuttle launch every week. But the repair missions cost more than Hubble, and no other science satellite has ever been repaired in orbit. Moreover, Hubble had to conform to a NASA decree that everything that went into space had to be launched with the shuttle. This confined Hubble to a far from optimum low-Earth orbit that took it in and out of the Earth’s shadow and exposed it to the rain of space garbage from past missions. Moreover, Hubble’s dimensions had to conform to the shuttle’s cargo bay, and its launch was delayed for three years by the Challenger accident. Ironically, the Challenger accident finally forced NASA to drop its shuttle-only launch policy. Hubble has gone on to achieve greatness, not because of the shuttle and the man-in-space program, but in spite of it.

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Categoría: Silva

Pedro Jorge Romero

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