NASA officials unveiled four new images from the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope during a Sept. 9 joint news conference with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). The brightly colored photos include multi-wavelength pictures of far-away galaxies, a densely packed star cluster, a so-called pillar of creation and a butterfly nebula.
The 19-year-old orbiting observatory was given a makeover during a 12-day repair mission launched May 11, equipping Hubble to last into the next decade, according to Ed Weiler, NASA associate administrator for science.
Mikulski, whose state is home to Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said she has fought hard to continue plans for the servicing and upgrade mission after former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe canceled it for safety reasons.
“I’ve had a long history with Hubble, and it’s been a rollercoaster ride,” said Mikulski, who oversees NASA funding as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee.
Weiler said Hubble’s suite of new instruments will allow it to study the universe across a wide swath of the light spectrum, from ultraviolet to near-infrared. In addition, scientists released spectroscopic observations that slice across billions of light-years to probe the cosmic-web structure of the universe.
ASA Administrator Charles, who piloted the space shuttle mission that carried Hubble into orbit in April 1990, described the telescope as a “teachable moment in unparalleled teamwork,” and said its launch marked the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope.
“Hubble is one of the most accomplished scientific instruments ever created,” Bolden said, adding that the instrument has the imagination of young people around the world. “Everyone knows how important it is to me for NASA to inspire the next generation of explorers.”