Question Sheet: Hubble Lives On
- Constructing a telescope in space is much harder — and costs much more —
than building one on Earth. Why would scientists go through the extra trouble of
constructing some telescopes in space (what would the benefits be)?
- What extra problems will scientists have when building, servicing and
eventually shutting down space telescopes?
- How old is the Hubble telescope?
- Name three special things this telescope has captured in its images and
taught ground-based astronomers.
- How much better is the resolution of Hubble’s images, compared to those from
- What contributes to that better resolution? (Hint: What’s in the sky between
the ground and Hubble?)
- How many days did it take to capture the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image of
the universe shortly after the Big Bang? (Hint: There are 60 seconds in a
minute, then 60 minutes in an hour, then 24 hours in a day.)
- Why does Hubble imagery have value beyond producing pretty pictures?
- When is the next servicing mission planned for the telescope, and once
fixed, how long is the telescope expected to continue operating?
- If it costs more to build and operate telescopes in space, but they yield
better data, should we just shut down Earth-based telescopes and use the money
from them for space-based astronomy? Explain your reasoning.
- How important do you think this observational astronomy is to science — to
understanding the creation and early developments in the universe?
- If you could guide the Hubble Space Telescope to answer a question or view
something in our universe, what would it be — and why?
- Much groundbreaking science today takes place at the extremes — the most
distant reaches of our universe, the greatest depths of the ocean, the tiniest
scales occurring within atoms or the deepest recesses of our DNA. If you had a
chance to conduct science in one of these venues, which would you choose?
Explain your choice.
- Because of the high expense of conducting space science, many countries
borrow (or lease) time on instruments in another country — or do cooperative
research with foreign scientists. Explain at least two reasons why this is good
— or not.
- Identify the costs of the space-shuttle flights, space-station construction,
and Hubble telescope. How does the cost compare to developing a new medicine,
building a new submarine or designing a new tropical resort? Compared to the
costs of those other ventures, how worthwhile do you believe the investments in
space science are? Explain your reasoning.
- Astronomers and space scientists may spend 10 years or more in university
studies training to explore the universe — about as long as a heart doctor or
another highly specialized physician. On a day-to-day basis, who does more
similar work — or more varied tasks? Who has the potential to learn more?
Assuming they would earn the same amount of money, which profession would you
prefer to be? Explain your decision.
- Research and hold a classroom debate on why investments in space science are
a good use of money — even in today’s tight economy.
- Write at least three paragraphs on what you would like to study if you had
control of the Hubble Space Telescope. Explain your choices.
- List at least 30 adjectives and 30 nouns from the Hubble story, then use
each at least once in some poem about the exploration of our cosmos.