A billionaire wanted to save the Hubble Telescope — here’s why NASA politely declined

It’s been 34 years since the Hubble Space Telescope launched into the harsh and unforgiving environment of Earth orbit. It’s sitting about 320 miles (515 kilometers) above our planet right now, exposed to solar radiation, freezing temperatures and micrometeoroid impacts while delivering breathtaking and textbook-altering images of the universe to us. 

Thirty-four years under that kind of stress takes its toll. Just earlier this week (June 4), NASA announced one of the Hubble Space Telescope‘s three remaining gyroscopes — which help scientists make sure the craft is pointing in the correct direction — has failed. The observatory will now shift into one-gyroscope mode, keeping the other still-working gyro in reserve so there’s a backup option to turn to when the time comes. This plan is expected to keep Hubble alive until the mid-2030s. But what would happen after that? Well, perhaps the end of Hubble. Perhaps not. 


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