The Hubble Space Telescope seen orbiting Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope seen orbiting Earth. (Space Telescope Science Institute)

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured distant reaches of the universe over the past 22 years, but with the end of the space shuttle program, has not been repaired since 2009. A filmmaker is challenging that decision with the documentary "Saving Hubble" and will speak in Baltimore on Tuesday.

David Gaynes will speak at the Space Telescope Science Institute with his message about saving Hubble, which is expected to continue operating only through next year. NASA is focused on replacing Hubble with the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018.


The lecture is the latest in a monthly series of talks at the institute.

Gaynes bills the documentary as "the first time a film about Hubble has asked 'What does this machine say about us?'" according to the film's website. "Saving Hubble is the story of ordinary people finding a voice, and a love letter to the machine that stands as humanity's ambassador to the expanding universe."

A private screening of the film is being held in the afternoon, before the lecture.
Among discoveries the Hubble has helped to accomplish since its launch in 1990 are the dating of the universe's age to 13.7 billion years, knowledge of the presence of black holes at the center of nearly all galaxies, and explanations of how planets form. Hubble explores space viewing light wavelengths from ultraviolet to the human-visible to near-infrared.
The Webb telescope is designed to explore in infrared light, and scientists hope to use it to find the first galaxies in the early universe and formation of planetary systems.

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