Friday, July 18, 2008

On Hubble and late-season baseball trades

Astronauts are scheduled to visit the Hubble Space Telescope in October 2008 to perform "Servicing Mission 4" (SM4). They'll replace the gyroscopes and batteries, swap out the fine guidance sensor, install the WFC3 camera and the COS spectrograph, and try to fix the broken instruments ACS and STIS.

Since this is All-Star game week, let's rephrase in terms of baseball:

At the moment, Hubble is a pro baseball team whose two star pitchers (ACS and STIS) have been on the disabled list for years -- they may never play again. The Hubble All-Stars still shows up for games, but rely on just two aging nuckleball pitchers (WFPC2 and NICMOS). The team has announced a huge trade for two brilliant prospects, WFC3 and COS, who throw pitches nobody's ever seen. (WPC3 even pitches ambidexterously!*) At the same time, the team has scheduled risky surgeries to bring its two disabled pitchers, ACS and STIS, back to work.

So, Hubble fans around the world are waiting for the big trade (Servicing Mission 4), scheduled for October. If it happens, for the next several years the team will be the best in history. If it fails, the team will fall apart. Tense.

* ambidexterious: uses both UV/blue and IR/red detectors. Kinda like throwing with either arm.

1 comment:

tevebaugh said...

sci-tech: much better with sports metaphors.