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Future Science with Hubble

30 Apr 2020, 12:00 UTC
Future Science with Hubble
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The Hubble Space Telescope’s celebration of thirty years in space this April is a time to not just look back to the tremendous accomplishments that have happened over that span, but also to look forward. Originally conceived as a Great Observatory, Hubble’s flexibility enables a wide range of science. Its ability and willingness to adapt to the changing scientific landscape have contributed in large part to Hubble’s continuance as a prominent astrophysics mission. Much of the science being done now was unanticipated at the time of Hubble’s launch. The most widely touted example is exoplanets, an area that had not had its nascence at the time of launch, but which now makes up roughly 20% of science observing. The versatility of the science instruments and active involvement of the user community in setting the science program are fundamental to ensuring that this innovation will continue.

The future for Hubble is bright, even with the much-anticipated launch of JWST and development of the WFIRST mission concept for the middle of the decade. Hubble has unique aspects that are not currently replicated in NASA’s astrophysics missions on the horizon – its ability to provide high-resolution imaging in the ultraviolet, as well as ...

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