We are entering low earth orbit this week and spending time with the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble was launched from the Discovery space shuttle in 1990, and has been operating and studying the cosmos ever since. It has helped determine the age of the universe, the expansion rate of the universe, the mass and size of our home Milky Way galaxy, among many other major discoveries. But this intrepid telescope has faced major challenges in its lifetime. Not long after being placed into orbit, Hubble sent back a photo and it was blurry. So NASA solved the problem by sending a crew back up to fix the mirror. The instrument has been wowing scientists and the world for decades. It is one of few Earth-orbiting telescopes, and for a view of the universe unencumbered by our atmosphere, that’s a big deal. Its perspective has proved more dazzling than anyone ever expected.
Want more good views of the cosmos? Gaze upon WIRED’s full collection of space photos here.