Why let the Hubble Space Telescope fall to Earth and burn up and be lost forever when it could easily be saved? The pride of the United States for the last half century has been our space program, and yet the administration has destroyed items such as the multibillion dollar space vehicle launch pads for scrap metal. Now they are going to let the Hubble telescope be wantonly destroyed. This is a national pride and a world treasure; it is like the Egyptian Pyramids, owned by the current Egyptians but acknowledged as a world treasure. They are a foundation stone to the whole of human civilization and are treasured as such.
The Hubble is also a world treasure and should be thought of as a wonder of all humanity, just like the Pyramids. It was created and put in place by the American people, but it is unquestionably a treasure to all humanity. It is still a functioning telescope, and although it may require some routine maintenance, it can still perform many tasks which are simply impossible for any other existing or proposed telescope. That the current government is going to let it fall to Earth is not just a national tragedy, it is a disaster for all humanity, and not just current humanity, but all humanity in the future. What will be lost cannot be known because it isn’t known. But, just as it has found many things in the past, it will undoubtedly find many things in the future, if only it is allowed to exist and receive routine maintenance every few years.
Simply boosting the Hubble to a higher orbit would extend its life expectancy by many years, and simply attaching an ion drive engine to it would extend its physical existence into the distant future. It would still require occasional maintenance, but with some forethought this could be extended to every couple of decades, and possibly it could be set up to operate permanently.
To let the Hubble die is a disgrace to our current government !!!
UPDATE 2011/10/04 Today the Nobel Prize was awarded to three astronomers, Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess and Brian Schmidt, who used data from the Hubble to help discover why the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate instead of slowing down as many other astronomers thought should be happening because of gravity pulling everything back together. To let the Hubble die is a crime against humanity and it is being committed by the current US administration and congress. If these people can’t find the money to keep the Hubble in space they should sell the telescope to some one who can. That way these American fools could make a short term gain, which is what their short-sightedness seems to demand, and let the telescope continue functioning and discovering more unknowns. Perhaps is could be sold to China, as they seem to be finding money to be entering the space exploration arena, or auctioned off to the highest bidder. Who knows who might come forward with the necessary money.