Herschel going blind, will cease operation


Too old to watch the Asian races live.
The Herschel space telescope will cease operation by the end of this month as its liquid helium will have all evaporated and can no longer super-cool the instruments to near absolute zero. Its four-year mission has been a resounding success and provided data that will take decades to completely understand.

Well done, Herschel.
Could it not be recharged? On a similar subject there are building a new telescope in Chile called the EELT which stands for European Extremely Large Telescope (I kid you not) with a 39 metre reflector. The original plan was for a 100m reflector OLT (Overwhelmingly Large Telescope) but it was too difficult and they couldn't get the funding.

I just love the project names.

Couldn't someone ask Dr Who to do it?

On a serious note though, now that the Space Shuttle has retired there is no longer the capability to service space based hardware such as the Hubble Telescope which is a real shame.
Mephistopheles You could be forgiven for thinking that, but the current time is a temporary blip in the story.

Close space flight (trips to service things like Hubble and the ISS) is being left to commercial providers. This leaves agencies such as NASA to concentrate on long term deep space flight and how to achieve that. The first aim is to return Man to the moon, followed by further trips, potentially aiming at Mars for now, but the tech developed to achieve this will be a good stepping stone to the move to longer term manned space flight...
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