What Hubble Taught us About Space

March 26, 2012


"Hubble Floating Free" NASA, 2002

How old is the universe and what can images from the Hubble Telescope teach us?

Edward J. Weiler is the former Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. He became Hubble's chief scientist in 1979, and remained so for 20 years. After so long in space, the Hubble's gyroscopes and sensors were failing, its batteries running down, and some of its instruments were already dead. The only hope to save Hubble was a mission so dangerous that in 2004 NASA cancelled it because it was considered too risky. Scientists and the general public alike stubbornly refused to abandon the telescope, and a new NASA administrator revived the mission. 

For his lead role in the Hubble science program, Dr. Weiler was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and the1994 Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive.

An article by Weiler on The Huffington Post, accompanied by images from his book, "Hubble: A Journey Through Space and Time," describes the Hubble project as, "a herculean effort by thousands of dedicated individuals including scientists, managers, engineers, support staff, NASA center personnel, contractors, international partners and astronauts."

Video from NASA's Hubblesite: "Hubble Reborn". Hubble was specifically designed to be serviced and upgraded by visiting astronauts. This video is from Hubble’s 2002 mission and shows the instruments installed and the science they made possible.

NOVA: Hubble's Amazing Rescue
Sign Up

Sign-up for WGBH Science updates, WGBH promotions, and previews of what's coming up on WGBH TV.




Support for WGBH is provided by:
Become a WGBH sponsor