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Hop to It, Orbitally

Space nuts, rejoice:

Just a few days ago the Hubble had a single major scientific instrument, a 16-year-old camera. It also had an aiming device that freelanced a little bit of science in its spare time. Everything else was kaput. The most advanced camera had been dead for two years, and the spectrograph dead for nearly five.

Now the Hubble has four new or rejuvenated scientific instruments. Plus new batteries. New gyros. A new computer. The upgraded telescope has vision so keen it can peer back through time to when the very first, ungainly galaxies were pulling themselves together. It will study the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars. It will look for tendrils of dark matter wriggling through the intergalactic void.

"We have a brand-new observatory with full capability that will be more productive than ever in its scientific lifetime," said Jon Morse, head of astrophysics for NASA.

Start taking pictures already, dammit!