Hubble fix may be costlyFixing the Hubble...


Hubble fix may be costly

Fixing the Hubble Space Telescope's blurred vision could cost about $60 million if a new corrective device is used, according to NASA.

However, the troubled orbiting telescope still would not operate at the same level as first envisioned, Lennard Fisk, chief scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said yesterday. An apparent manufacturing error in the $1.6 billion Hubble's mirrors hinders focusing on distant objects.

Fisk told reporters that COSTAR -- short for corrective optics space telescope axial replacement -- could be installed by astronauts during a 1993 shuttle mission.

* NASA engineers are analyzing two hairline cracks found on the door hinges of the space shuttle Atlantis, which is supposed to carry an astronomical observatory into orbit about April 4. But NASA spokesman Bruce Buckingham today said the shuttle most likely will fly with the cracks because they are so tiny. Large, mysterious cracks on Discovery's hinges prompted NASA officials last week to delay that shuttle's March mission by up to ++ two months so repairs can be made. Discovery is scheduled to be moved from the launch pad back to the hangar tomorrow.

Air improves, but . . .

The nation's air became steadily cleaner during the prosperous 1980s, proving that cleaning up the environment does not hinder economic growth, says the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But despite the progress, an estimated 84 million Americans still breathe air that exceeds the standards for at least one of the six major pollutants the EPA monitors. Los Angeles continues to have the nation's worst air, EPA Administrator William K. Reilly said yesterday.

* Inner-city blacks suffer disproportionately from asthma, and the problem appears to be worsening, doctors say. "For people with asthma, the mortality rate for black males is four times that of whites and for [black] females it is three times higher," Dr. Albert Sheffer said yesterday at a meeting in San Francisco.

More capsules examined:

Food and Drug Administration inspectors have found a sixth suspicious pack of Sudafed in Washington state, where cyanide-laced capsules already have killed two people and seriously injured a third. The capsule will be analyzed by the FBI to determine if it contains cyanide, said Jeff Nesbit, a spokesman for the FDA in Washington, D.C. The agency still is awaiting results on tests of two other suspicious capsules.

L.A. beating probed:

The FBI has opened an investigation into the conduct of Los Angeles police officers who were caught on a home video repeatedly beating and kicking a motorist after a high-speed chase. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, other city officials and civil rights groups condemned the officers' conduct as "outrageous." Police Chief Daryl F. Gates pledged a full investigation in the weekend incident but cautioned against judging the officers prematurely.

More heart attacks occur shortly after people awake than at any other time, say heart scientists. Dr. James Muller, a Harvard University physician and co-director of the Institute for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, told doctors at a meeting in Atlanta yesterday that this is the first indication that the attacks occur shortly after waking and not during sleep.

* A two-pack-a-day smoker is likely to have a heart attack 11 years earlier than a non-smoker, a new study concludes. In addition, smokers who quit had their first heart attacks an average of three years later than those who continued to smoke, said Dr. Arthur Moss, a cardiologist at the University of Rochester in New York. His report was aired yesterday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta.

Fat and cancer:

A Canadian study has concluded that women who eat the most fat have a 35 percent greater risk of breast cancer than those who eat the least. But the findings are certain to spur debate over the link between dietary fat and breast cancer.

"It clearly shows that very high fat intake is leading toward increased risk," said Meera Jain, one of the authors and a nutritionist with Canada's National Cancer Institute. But Dr. Graham Colditz, one of the authors of a 1987 Harvard study that concluded there is no such link, disputed the findings.

Panel clears Madigan:

The Senate Agriculture Committee today approved the nomination of Rep. Edward Madigan, R-Ill., to be secretary of agriculture. The nomination was sent to the Senate, where it is expected to win easy approval. The committee approved him by voice vote with no opposition.

Madigan promised yesterday that he would be a tough ally of farmers and would "fight like a junkyard dog" to protect their interests during international trade negotiations.

More evidence wanted:

More evidence must be presented before Peter Busalacchi can transfer his severely brain-damaged daughter from a state hospital in Missouri, including whether he wants to move her so that her feeding tube can be removed, a divided Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled. "It's not a loss," Busalacchi maintained yesterday.

For the record:

A Miami jury has recommended death in the electric chair for Guillermo Arbelaez, a jilted man who threw his ex-lover's 5-year-old son off a bridge for revenge. . . . A gunman proclaiming "those drugs kill babies" was arrested yesterday in Visalia, Calif., after shooting at a judge who had ordered a birth control implant for a woman as a condition for parole. . . . A fourth worker died yesterday from injuries suffered during a fire earlier this week at a Louisiana oil refinery.

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