Big Gamble in Space

A shuttle mission aims to save the Hubble telescope -- and NASA's reputation

For the beleaguered masters of America's sputtering space program, the word Hubble has been a synonym for trouble. Launched three years ago and billed as the most magnificent scientific instrument ever put into orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope quickly became known as the $1.5 billion blunder. The very first images from the telescope revealed that its primary mirror was deformed, leaving the instrument distressingly nearsighted.

While computer tricks have helped the Hubble get a good look at a distant supernova and storms on Saturn, the telescope's accomplishments have fallen far short of expectations, and its crippled condition has grown progressively worse....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!