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Space Telescopes Can’t Do What TMT Would
A new space mission is required every time a space telescope needs repairs or upgrades. Earth telescopes are simply easier to maintain.

About the Author

  • Gardner De Aguiar

Recently here in Civil Beat’s “Connections,” Gerald Ferro submitted a piece explaining what he feels is an alternative to the Thirty Meter Telescope, namely the Hubble Space Telescope. He also claimed he is an ex NASA employee. I would love to find out in what capacity he worked for NASA, being that what he was proclaiming was rather misleading and left out a lot of pertinent points.

The Hubble is an incredible telescope. No argument there. However, it does have certain drawbacks. It is tiny in comparison. The windows of opportunity to use it are small. The hugest drawbacks are its maintenance and upgrades. You literally have to launch a space mission every time you have to repair it or upgrade it.

As one can imagine, this adds to its expense and adds a very dangerous element to its use. Earth telescopes are just easier to maintain and upgrade, easier to access, and the operating environment is way less hostile than space.

I don’t claim to have worked for NASA, but even to a layman like me, these points are quite obvious. If not, more information is out there if you look for it.

Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2009.

NASA