NASA's mission to fix the Hubble Space Telescope is taking top billing in the science news this week. (Take that swine flu!) Astronauts recently completed a series of grueling repairs that will extend the telescope's functional life to 2014.
When the telescope was launched in 1990, NASA scientists soon discovered that the main mirror that allowed the Hubble telescope to "see" were slightly off from the design specifications by about a millimeter. In the everyday world, being off by a millimeter is no big deal, but for the Hubble telescope this tiny error meant that it was unable to "see" distant galaxies very clearly.
In 1993, NASA sent a repair mission to the Hubble telescope and fixed the problem. Since then, the Hubble telescope has returned amazing images of distant galaxies and helped astronomers and astrophysicists better understand our universe.
The website www.hubblesite.org has an amazing gallery of pictures taken from the Hubble telescope. I hope they don't mind, but I've posted a few pictures that are simple out of this world!
I think it's amazing that the bright dots in each galaxy is a star. Keep in mind that the Sun is also a star, which means it's possible for other stars to have orbiting planets, perhaps even one similar to our own!