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(BBC)   Herschel space telescope to go blind, develop acne and hairy palms   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 3
    More: Sad, Herschel Space Observatory, telescopes, galaxy formation and evolution, galaxy formation, Hairy palms and soles, European Space Agency, detectors  
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2108 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Mar 2013 at 2:16 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-05 02:44:36 PM
3 votes:

MyKingdomForYourHorse: Once the detectors start to warm from their ultra-frigid state, they will stop working. The end, when it happens, will be quite sudden.

You'd think somewhere in design stage someone somewhere would have come up with the idea to shut the detectors down, and made the fluid refillable.


Herschel orbits at the earth-sun L2 point. That's not exactly the easiest place to get a refueling mission to, even if it were feasible. Hubble's repeated refurbishings were only possible because it sits in low orbit where the shuttle could get to it. A robotic refueling mission to L2, even if the scope were designed to be refueled, would be very expensive, probably a good chunk of the cost of a *new* telescope.

And I find it amusing that you think that somehow all of the highly intelligent people we put on designing these sorts of things would be incapable of coming up with such a simple idea. If they didn't do something that seems obvious to you, there's probably a good reason for it.

/sad to see it go
//whole thing wouldn't be nearly so sad if us stupid apes were actually willing to invest money in science instead of blowing each other up
2013-03-05 03:29:23 PM
1 votes:

MyKingdomForYourHorse: MuonNeutrino: And I find it amusing that you think that somehow all of the highly intelligent people we put on designing these sorts of things would be incapable of coming up with such a simple idea. If they didn't do something that seems obvious to you, there's probably a good reason for it.

My point was you would think someone would have at least made the argument that such a great tool is worth keeping working for longer than it has. Three years and we're done with a tool that has made some arguably amazing discoveries?

The comment was my lament that we couldn't keep something like this up for longer not a derision on the engineers who created it, that is all.


It's a common problem for IR telescopes- the Spitzer space telescope had the exact same issue when it ran out of coolant, although it has a detector left that can operate at warmer temperatures.  Herschel was designed for longer wavelengths and thus needs the cold instruments

It's almost a million miles from Earth at the L2 point- that's about 4x as far as the moon.  We don't have anything on the drawing board that could travel out there with a dewar of helium, mate with it and refuel it.  Neat idea, but it would probably be cheaper to just launch another one.
2013-03-05 02:53:13 PM
1 votes:
If only we had some kind of craft to go up there and repair it!
 
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