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November 30, 1993 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-30

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The Michigan Daily- Tuesday. November 30, 1993- 3

.NASA to launch Hubble telescope repair mission

A record 5 spacewalks are planned
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - astronauts gets sick? What if the
It's one of the most important mis- shuttle toilet breaks and forces an
sions in space shuttle history and by early return?
far the most complex. Repairing the Putting it all together makes a
Hubble Space Telescope - a cobos- nightmare of astronomical propor-
sal job - has NASA fretting over two tions.
little words. Nightmares -and imagination
What if? - were running rampant yesterday at
What if space shuttle Endeavour Kennedy Space Center as NASA
can't rendezvous with the nearsighted counted down toward tomorrows
Hubble? What if the shuttle robot arm scheduled launch of the Endeavour at
breaks and can't grab the $1.6 billion 4:57 a.m. EST.
telescope? What if the telescope's During the 11-day flight, astro-
solar wings don't fold up? What if the nauts are to take a record five
telescope is in worse shape than ex- spacewalks to try to fix Hubble's prob-
pected? What if one of the seven lems as well as NASA's image, bat-
Due to a manufacturing mistake, Hubble's primary mirror is too flat
along one edge by about 1/50 of the thickness of a human hair. In
the next 11 days, astronauts will attempt five spacewalks to repair
the $1.6 billion telescope.

for repair of bus-sized instrument

tered repeatedly over the past several
years. If necessary, the crew could
conduct seven spacewalks to install
11 new telescope parts and yet an-
other spacewalk to deal with a shuttle
Hubble program manager Ken
Ledbetter said his biggest fear is that
"something might happen that would
preclude us from even trying to fix the
"I think we can handle anything
that will happen once we're out in the
bay and start working (on Hubble).
But if something were to happen be-
fore, a problem with the shuttle, a
problem with the crew, an attack of
appendicitis or whatever ... that would
be tragic."
NASA's associate director of
flight projects for Hubble, Joe
Rothenberg, shares those fears.
If for some reason the astronauts
can't capture the bus-size telescope
some 360 miles above Earth and an-
chor it in Endeavour's cargo bay, "we
don't even have a chance to get up to
bat," Rothenberg said.
Hubble scientist Edward Weiler is
most afraid of the unknown: The
project's record has shown "it's the
things you didn't prepare for that will
get you."
Like so many others at NASA,
Weiler has been living with stress

ever since the Hubble was found to
have an improperly polished mirror
that blurred its vision of extremely
remote objects in the universe. That
discovery came two months after the
1990 launch.
Besides a mirror that's too flat
along the edge, Hubble's electricity-
generating solar panels flap, one of
the panel drive electronics is out, three
of six gyroscopes are broken, both
magnetometers have glitches, several
computer memory boards have failed
and an ultraviolet-detector has inter-
mittent power trouble.
To improve their chances of suc-
cess, the astronauts, flight controllers
and telescope team have prepared for
numerous problems that might occur
during the mission. The guidelines
for these "what-ifs, thens," as Weiler
calls them, fill a stack of paper 3 feet
"You ask me what's going to go
wrong in orbit? Probably nothing in
that plan," Weiler said.
The crew's four spacewalkers have
spent an unprecedented 400-plus
hours training underwater for the out-
ings. Experts in and outside NASA
have conducted a record number of
mission reviews. The telescope parts
to be installed, especially the correc-
tive optics, have been checked again
and again.

Dashed linesf
show the path
of light inside
Secondary mirror-
Primary mirror
Flatness error is
source of Hubble's
blurry images, but
mirror cannot be
replaced in space.

NASA will attempt to fix the near-sighted Hubble Telescope this week.

'U' Astronomy prof. hopes to use 'telescope time' for experiments

Cameras and
sensors in
modules. One
instrument will
be replaced with
corrective optics
to undo blur
caused by
primary mirror.

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble.
Even the "three weird sisters"
could lend a hand in the delicate mis-
sion to fix the Hubble telescope to-
At 4:57 a.m., the crew of the Space
Station Endeavour departs on an 11-
day mission to repair the nation's
three-year-old space-based telescope,
the Hubble Space Telescope.
"The mission is basically fitting a
pair of glasses to the telescope," said
Astronomy Prof. Patrick Seitzer, a
former instrument scientist who worked
on the Hubble at the Space Telescope
Science Institute in Baltimore for three
AP "When you have a problem with

your eyes, you don't replace your
eyes, you correct them," Seitzer said.
Using "corrective optics," the crew
will attach a new camera to the tele-
scope to recalibrate the images the
telescope sends to the ground, during
five six-hour space walks to the tele-
Seitzer, who teaches an introduc-
tory astronomy course for nonscien-
tists, hopes to use the fixed telescope
for three different projects. The insti-
tute accepted three proposals that will
take a total of two days of "telescope
time"-- the total time of a number of
shorter observations.
Astronomers all over the world
await the results of a mission that
could provide answers to issues like:
how and when did the universe be-

Seitzer acknowledged the disap-
pointing results the Hubble has pro-
duced to date. NASA built up high
expectations for the telescope to an-
swer fundamental questions regard-
ing the mysteries of the universe, but
an error in the telescope's mirror dis-
covered in April 1990 squashed their
"There were great hopes to deal
with problems of the universe," he
said. "Specifically, how fast the uni-
verse is expanding, seeing distant
galaxies very far away - it hasn't
come to pass -- and it has been a
definite disappointment."
Seitzer attributed the fault of the
telescope's mirror to -errors in test
procedures. He said the manufacturer

ground the mirror to the wrong speci-
fication, leaving a giant, blurry im-
age. After attempts at computer cor-
rection failed, NASA planned a
Hubble has advantages that land-
based telescopes don't have. First,
light is absorbed by the atmosphere
and land-based telescopes cannot see
below a certain light level. Second,
the increase in distance makes long
distance observation impossible.
Earlier in the year, NASA settled
a lawsuit with the makes of the defec-
tive mirror for $25 million. Like the
recently-canceled Superconducting
Super Collider, the $1 billion tele-
scope has come under fire by mem-
bers of Congress as an example of
expensive science that does not work.

Source: NASA, Space Telescope Science Institute

State House to consider plan for
more school choice, longer years


Bill would permit the
creation of publicly-
funded 'charter
LANSING (AP) - A school im-
provement bill that would allow teach-
ers and educational institutions to cre-
ate alternative charter schools won
committee approval yesterday as the
education debate moved to the full
The House Education Committee
approved a school quality package
that includes the formation of charter
schools, a proposal to lengthen the
school year and a bill that would imple-
ment educational performance stan-
The bills were rushed to the House
floor where representatives began dis-
cussing the charter schools concept.
The school quality plan is part of a
larger package to overhaul Michigan's
education system after the Legisla-
ture voted last summer to eliminate
$7 billion of property tax revenue for
A key element in the committee
plan would allow the creation of al-
:ternative charter schools supported
by public funds. Charter schools could

be formed by certified teachers, school
districts, community colleges or pub-
lic universities.
A public school could be con-
verted to a charter school if it were
supported by 75 percent of the teach-
ers and 75 percent of parents of pupils
enrolled in the building.
Charter schools would be subject
to the same requirements as public
schools such as the state core curricu-
lum and school safety standards. They
could not be affiliated with a religious
Some Republican members of the
House Education Committee who
voted in favor of the plan said they
hoped to amend the plan on the House
floor. They want more types of orga-
nizations to be able to open schools.
But there may be a battle among
Republicans to amend it. Republican
William Bryant of Grosse Pointe
Farms, a designer of the bipartisan
school package, said teachers and edu-
cational institutions would be the best
leaders of charter schools.
"They already are in the business
of education," Bryant said. "People
trust that they will not go out of their
way to develop a charter school that is
Democrat William Agee of

Muskegon, another designer of the
school quality package, said the char-
ter school bill was crafted to garner
support from Republicans and Demo-
crats alike.
"The bills are a result of a great
deal of compromise on both sides."
Agee said. "It will be a reform for all
But two Democratic committee
members, Reps. Robert DeMars of
Lincoln Park and Justine Barns of
Westland, voted against the charter
school proposal.
"It's a classic gimmick to have
private schools apply for public fund-
ing," said Rep. Robert DeMars (D-
Lincoln Park). "I think it's an attempt
to violate the state constitution."
The education committee plan
does not include Engler's proposal
for cross-district schools of choice.
Under the governor's plan, schools
could accept children from beyond
their boundaries, but wouldn't be re-
quired to do so.
The Senate adopted a similar plan.
The school improvement plan
would also lengthen the minimum
school year by 28 days. Two days
would be added to each academic
year until 2010 when the school year
would be a total of 210 days.

Construction worker Paul Pinard measures the landing as Pizza House prepares to move next
door while they renovate the current store.


Student groups
U American Movement for Is-
rael, meeting, at Hillel, 7 p.m.
O Anthropology Club, meeting,
LS&A Building, Room 2553, 7
U Arab-American Students As-
sociation, Arabic conversation
hour, Arabic House, Oxford, 7
U 'Association for Computing

uArn:~t = aIL s1'k iir iii I~U'I
pus, Room 2027, 7 p.m.
Q Indian American Student As-
sociation, board meeting,
Michigan Union, Room 4202,
9 p.m.
Q Queer Action, meeting, Michi-
gan Union, Room 3116, 8 p.m.
U Saint Mary Student Parish,
workshop on the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, 7 p.m., 331 Th-
ompson St.

1950's and 60's, speaker:
Qicheng Jing, Lane Hall, Com-
mons Room, 12 noon
U International Forum, Tuesday
lunch, A Report from Recent
Study and Travel in the Travel
in the Middle East, speaker:
Najib Hourani, International
Center, Room 9, 12 noon.

Salary Supplements


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