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Hubble

Many people remember how the Hubble Space Telescope's 1990 launch was almost immediately marred by a flaw in its primary mirror -- a deviation no bigger than 1/50th the thickness of a piece of paper -- compromising its focus and requiring a 1993 repair mission to install a complex system of additional mirrors to circumvent the problem.

Hubble

Since then, there were four more shuttle service missions, each of which enabled the telescope, the world's first space-based observatory, to cast its giant eye ever-farther and return more comprehensive data about our own galaxy, as well as the formation and composition of galaxies well beyond the Milky.

The movie "Hubble" focuses on the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which launched in May 2009 for the fifth and final mission to make vital repairs and upgrades to the Hubble 350 miles above the Earth. Astronauts used an IMAX camera to capture stunning sequences of the five intricate spacewalks required to make those repairs, close-up images of the effort to grasp the telescope, orbiting at 17,500 mph, with the shuttle's mechanical arm, and one unexpected problem that threatened to sabotage the entire mission.

"Hubble" combines breathtaking IMAX footage with images taken by the telescope during the nearly 20 years it has been our window into space. Through advanced computer visualization, Hubble's detailed data has become a series of scientifically realistic flights that unfold on screen like a guided tour of the universe, through time and space.

Amid the aerial action and dazzling spacescapes, "Hubble" also touches upon the life story of the telescope. Considered by many to be the greatest scientific instrument since Galileo's first telescope, Hubble has provided essential information about how the cosmos was formed. Quite literally, said director Toni Myers, "It has changed the way we see the universe."

The James Webb Space Telescope is being built to replace Hubble, and scientists are working toward a 2018 launch date. But Hubble's work isn't done yet. In mid-December 2013, the telescope observed water vapor above the frigid south polar region of Jupiter's moon Europa, providing the first strong evidence of water plumes erupting off the moon's surface. And the telescope is one of several involved in a current project that is looking into deeper regions of space to find the oldest galaxies.

* This is just one of the many new additions to the museum as a result of our "Making More of the MOST!" campaign.  To learn more about the campaign, what's planned next, what's happened up till now, how we're doing and, most importantly, how you can get involved in the fun and support the museum, follow the link to the left titled "Making More of the MOST!" or use the navigation set below.

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