The Hubble Space Telescope has officially spent three decades in outer space, making it one of the most renowned space observatories in history. Over the course of those 30 years, Hubble has photographed the cosmos time and time again in ways that were once thought unimaginable. Thanks to its countless observations, we now understand more about our universe than ever before.
When the Hubble Space Telescope launched, it was a substantial leap in astronomical technology. It was built to break free of the limitations imposed by making astronomical observations from beneath Earth’s atmosphere, which can distort images and impact visual output of telescopes on the Earth’s surface. Fast-forward to now, and it’d be an understatement to say that Hubble achieved its goal.
Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope’s powerful viewing capabilities, astronomers were able to peer deep into the universe and catch a glimpse at some of the earliest-known objects on record. Hubble also opened our eyes to the idea that the universe is continuously expanding, and not only that, but accelerating.
Hubble’s resume wasn’t spotless, however. Shortly after launch, it became apparent that something was wrong with its optical system. Fortunately, the space observatory was designed to be serviceable, and with a few Space Shuttle visits and planned spacewalks, NASA managed to get Hubble up and running in no time at all.
Originally designed to last 20 years in space, Hubble has long outlived its projected lifespan. Several upgrades later, and it’s estimated that Hubble could last at least 10 more years from present day. Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is projected to launch in the near future, but Hubble will remain as a secondary space observatory for astronomers and scientists alike for the foreseeable future.