Atlantis rides home on the back of a 747, we salute Hubble

After the riskiest mission ever undertaken by any astronaut with regards to Hubble, Atlantis is finally making its way home on the back of a 747. Posted below is the YouTube video of Atlantis making its way back to Florida; the trip will require several stops because of the extra weight of the shuttle on top of the 747.

Neowin covered the Hubble repair mission closely by posting updates about shuttles progress and some breath taking photos taken from Earth of Atlantis pulling Hubble out of orbit.

Hubble will continue in operation to at least 2014 at which point the telescope may be removed from orbit. This will end the successful service life of one telescope that changed our thoughts about if we truly are alone in this Universe.

Following Hubble will be the James Webb telescope whose "primary mirror will be 6.5 meters wide, about three times the size of Hubble's. If engineers used Hubble-esque materials to make JWST, the scope would weigh 10 times what Hubble does -- way too much to get off the ground"

If the plan goes accordingly, the James Webb telescope will be what HD has done to SD television. We will see higher resolution pictures and will be able to see farther than one could ever dream of when Hubble was being built. Once again a telescope may help us redefine our position in the Universe but none of it could happen without the information we have learned from Hubble.

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