A long road for the Hubble Repair Mission

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Issues being approached for the Hubble Repair Mission are due to ground diagnosis for the telescope, using clues from telemetry by NASA similar to a mysterious “CSI Goddard Mission” based on little things viewed or obtained through data. But the hardware is not on the ground, so newly developed tools are being designed to handle Hubble issues being diagnosed on Earth as if the team was in space.

The repair of the instruments is very much an experiment on such a huge magnitude, with the new instruments considered a major part of the experiment. The astronauts and EVA Task Timeline are what NASA feels what “may be encountered”, not what is 100% known for a fact, while using simulations for training. What helps is the fact the servicing machine has a crew with several going to the Hubble on previous missions.

The Hubble Telescope is operated every day, twenty-four hours a day, located 353 miles above Earth. The task ahead has involved several years of preparation for the EVA Mission, with preparation at Goddard for delivery of the tools, the equipment needed, and the crew involved. Two main elements have been heavily involved with the mission: (1) crew familiarization where the astronauts are part of the developing team which offers the hardware maintenance a hands-on training, and (2) the MBL at Johnston Center mockup of a space shuttle in their underground water tank, with mockup tools and hardware, providing training for the repair mission. In the tank are twenty engineers in addition to astronauts, performing repair training to simulate the movements and actions in space onboard the Hubble telescope.

The newly designed Hubble Repair tools provided for the repair mission provide efficiency and bring a task into the “do-able” process against not being able to complete a task. Today the hardware is pretty much complete, in addition to all the tools. Testing capabilities and simulation is being practiced and performed on a daily basis for testing loads, vacuum of space, hardware operation, acoustic chambers against working of hardware, HST testing, slick carrier carries 4,000 pounds of hardware is being tested for launch loads.

HST main center for Hubble is operational for 365-days a year, 24-hours a day with the Hubble remaining powered up during its maintenance—which includes charging batteries, heated bay areas, hardware turned off when astronauts are on-duty for operations, spare hardware always on call, hardware is now delivered to launch site as this writing, final configures at Kennedy Space Center of hardware. The hardware will be loaded for the shuttle launching preparation, with fully charged batteries completed before launching, and anything else than needs to be completed in order to not get in the way of the Kennedy operations for launching preparations.

The Search for the God Particle

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Seventy-nine year old Professor Peter Higgs believes that the God-Particle will be found by the simple act of switching on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Researcher (CERN), located below the Franco-Swiss border. And now that the switch has been turned on, he still feels it is necessary to understand how particles acquire mass, recognizing that by turning on the machine something will eventually be found to better understand electromagnetic interactions.

Professor Higgs is the one who came up with the idea in 1964 that there must exist a background field that would “act rather like treacle.” The particles that would be passing through it would acquire mass by being dragged through a mediator, dubbed the “Higgs Boson” which was derived through his breakthrough theory 44-years ago.

Today, the LHC has cost over 5.46 billion dollars (3.76 billion euros) (six billion Swiss frances) to develop, with the total purpose of resolving physic enigmas—why particles have mass; more in-depth explanations about “dark matter” and “dark energy” which involves 96% of the cosmos; and answering the question “do other dimensions exist in parallel to our own.” The blip this morning was of cosmic proportions, offering the physics a new tool to probe the birth of our universe.

Once the world’s largest atom smasher was turned on this early Wednesday morning, which will allow them to reveal how the tiniest particles first created the original “big bang”—the massive explosive that formed our universe’s stars, planets, and everything in between. When the two firings of the beam of protons—clockwise and counter clockwise—went around the 17-mile tunnel of the deep collider, they formed white flashing dots on the blue screen of the control room which showed a successful crossing of the finish line. “The first technical challenge has been met,” said a jubilant Robert Aymar, director-general of CERN. “What you have just seen is the result of 20 years of effort. It all went like clockwork. Now it’s for the physicists to show us what they can do. They are ready to go for discoveries. Man has always shown he wants to know where he comes from and where he will go, where the universe comes from and where it will go. So here we’re looking at essential questions for mankind.”

The Unintelligence of the Intelligent Physics

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Maybe it was the $100 dollar bet that Stephen Hawkings made regarding the inability of CERN to find the elusive particle seen as “a holy grail of cosmic science”, after the LHC was turned on. Or maybe it was the exhausting hours by the CERN team preparing for the LHC project over many years. Or maybe it is just plain competiveness between two old Nobel physicists. But stupidity has been brought to a whole new level in the scientific field recently.

Call me old-fashioned, but for no reason should two high-level intelligent physicists act like two old men at a corner bar on a fool-moon night in a “he said-no–I said” fight over something not even known yet while still in its infancy stages. It’s an embarrassment to the scientific community—regardless of how “cute” the media thinks it is and will make millions of this “cuteness”, lathering up the public with every article about it.

More light is shed on the little tiff made big, regarding the accusation made by Higgs about the work of Stephen Hawkings “not being good enough”, helping us better understand the search for the “God particle” by the “God physicists” who work at CERN, seemingly excluding the lesser physicists who do not work there. But wait! Phys.Org had another opinion in 2006 when Hawkings visited CERN:

“Prof. Hawking was visiting the Theory Unit of the Physics Department at CERN. The Theory Unit welcomes about 400 visiting physicists per year, who come together to debate and discuss their ideas. As a key figure in the field of theoretical cosmology, Prof. Hawking’s visit reinforces the exciting anticipation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), due to start up in 2007, and the importance of CERN as a central meeting place for the best minds in physics.”

Obviously not detrimental to the CERN project, when Professor Hawkings visited the project and lent his name to the project, showing support for it was good enough for Professor at that time. And the other day when the complex scientific experiment was turned on to accelerate sub-atomic particles to nearly the speed of light before smashing them together, nothing negative came out of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking’s mouth except this statement to BBC, “”The LHC will increase the energy at which we can study particle interactions by a factor of four. According to present thinking, this should be enough to discover the Higgs particle.” You will notice he referred to the fact “we can study….”, not “they can study.”

But somewhere along the line the right remark was not made to the right person, as now we have two used-to-be intelligent men acting like two twenty-year olds fighting over the drop of a hat—or in this sense—a drop of a word or two. The bet of $100 shows that Stephen Hawkings feels the “god particle” cannot be found, at least in the sense they desire it will be–or he feels the spindly $100 bet will spur someone on. That is his opinion, and he has that right. Professor Higgs has his, and he has that right. After all, look at all the time involved and money spent. The field of science has absolutely NEVER been based on a group of scientists agreeing on anything; that is how the field has grown and new things have become discovered over them.

And now there is a fight because two renowned physicists disagree? Come on, people. This has to be one of the stupidest things I have even shamefully seen coming out of this area of work. Attacks have been leveled against Hawkings’ theories for a long time, and it just rolls of his back while those doing the leveling seem to come out of it a little smarter with some new break-through theories. Nothing the matter with it. Why is it that CERN and Higgs feels they are exempt from criticism or excludes other physicists from having their onw opinion when it is in disagreement with that of CERN—to the point upon which anger, words, and the media becomes involved. I guess I feel these individuals as Nobel men should know better, but I guess I was wrong.