Tonight on 60 Minutes Bill Bradley gives the story on Hubble. As you've probably heard, NASA is shutting it down.
Never mind that Hubble just got a shot that features 10,000 galaxies and shows "the universe the way it looked near the dawn of time." It's work is done. It needs a new gyroscope, new plugs, rotor, water pump; it's due to crash and burn in a few years. It is essentially space debris, not worth fixing.
I don't cry easily, but this made me cry. I teared up. I had to get philosophical. Why mourn the vessel when we've still got the pictures?
I slept on that, woke up pissed, searched the net to see how much of this was George Bush's fault, and either forgot what I was searching for or got interested in something else.
Now I'm pissed again. I remember Bush saying we're going to Mars. It didn't catch on, so he never mentioned it again. He might as well have said, "We're going to McDonald's!" But what if that's why they're killing Hubble? That'd be a bitch, huh?
What happened to us? Where's our willingness to boldly go where no human being has ever gone before? Back in the day of Star Trek, when time could be traveled as easily as an infinitive could be split, no one ever dreamed that time travel could ever be possible. Yet here it is in the Hubble. Time travel is now a reality, but unfortunately it's space junk.
If the Hubble were just a telescope with a camera, it might make sense to let it drop. But Hubble is a type of time machine and its work is far from finished. There is a quiet race for a better model of the universe, a way for the human mind to more clearly grasp our place in the universe.
Hubble may fall but it will not die. Hubble will be to the space program what the Casio digital watch once was to the consumer. It will be an accessory of the space station or some other shared platform which any visionary American president would be thinking about, and adjusting his actions to accommodate a climate of cooperation. Hint to Mr. Kerry.
People out my way, 60 miles out of Chicago, haven't seen real stars or experienced actual night darkness in years. Last summer we thought we had the Northern Lights, turned out to be a new Wal-Mart.
If you're curious about Hubble's future and the universe's past, it's on 60 Minutes on CBS.