Space is an interesting subject. It arguably matters most to our knowledge of life. Understanding issues affecting the universe today will help us recognize them as they impact our lives going forward. And since we simply don't have the ability to explore space the way it would be required to fully understand our history, it's the Hubble Space Telescope that we must rely on to provide that for us.
But it's not without its critics. With each new service mission (including the latest), critics have contended that Hubble simply costs too much for what we're getting. And according to one U.S. legislator, it's to the detriment of other programs.
"We have to make hard choices about whether a Hubble mission is worth it now, when moving ahead is likely to have an adverse impact on other programs, including quite possibly other programs in astronomy," Sherwood Boehlert, a former Republican congressman from New York, said in 2005.
Hubble's cost is certainly high. According to NASA, the telescope has cost the United States $9.6 billion since its launch in 1990. In that time, critics remind us that scientists still haven't determined the real age of the universe; they still don't know, for sure, how the galaxy was formed, and they wonder if all those pictures Hubble sends back are really all that important.
Yes, they are.… Read more