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Vision. Hope. Triumph.
[Sound FX] [Dramatic Music]
Heidi Hammel, Senior Research Scientist:
We the people own Hubble. It is a part of our culture and we treasure it. When there was possibility that this servicing mission might not happen, there was a huge outcry. Not just from the scientist, but from the members of the public themselves; people who are not scientist. They are the ones who wrote letters and made phone calls and sent faxes to try to get that changed. Hubble has revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos and they’ve given our children a much clearer and newer view then we had when we were children. But with this servicing mission we’re going to be expanding our vision even further giving all of our children a bigger and more fascinating universe to grow and learn and wonder about. So if I had to think of three words that I would use to characterize the legacy of Hubble, for all of us in the future, those words would be vision, hope, and triumph. Hubble is not just a machine, it’s more then a telescope and more then the cameras and the equipment. It’s a vast network of people who conceived and built and operate and appreciate this incredible tool. It’s the spacecraft builders not only the scientist, the engineers, the technicians, the bureaucrats, the politicians and everybody that worked together to make Hubble a reality and to keep it a reality. They had to have vision; they had to have hope. And ultimately there was the triumph of seeing it come to fruition. Astronomers from all around this globe use the telescope. Scientist from everywhere have the hope of using this fabulous machine. It’s a triumph of Hubble that it can probe all aspects of science, from the planets, to the cosmos, to galaxies, to everything in between. Star formation. Galaxy formation. The tools on Hubble have given us the vision needed to study this. But these images are transformed in our imaginations and they have captured the imaginations of kids, all around the world. Ordinary people love Hubble. The Hubble story resonates with people because it’s the story of humanity. It’s the story of hope. It’s the story of darkness, darkness in which we eventually triumph. And of course the astronaut core; not just the astronauts, but the support staff, the shuttle engineers, thousands of individuals who contributed in a myriad of ways to making this program a success. Their vision of a successful mission, their hope of complete accomplishment have lead to many triumphs in the past servicing missions. The efforts of all of these people culminate in the Atlantis mission. The Hubble Space Telescope has already earned it's place in history as a triumph of science in our modern era. Yet there is more to see, more to learn, more to ponder, and more to wonder at. This mission will give Hubble the tools for a marvelous swan song. One more opportunity to probe this vast universe and all that lies within it. As a scientist, as a long time user of Hubble, as a public citizen, and as a parent I’m going to be watching this final mission with hope for the future. I’ll be marveling at the vision and the triumph that Hubble represents and I wish the shuttle crew a safe flight and a bon voyage.
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