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What Will We Do When Hubble Dies?

Though NASA will launch its next major space telescope in 2018, when the aging Hubble is retired we'll lose sight of the ultraviolet universe.

November 28, 2016
12:01 PM EST
The James Webb Space Telescope (pictured here during a mirror inspection) will enhance Hubble's observations in many areas, but it lacks in ultraviolet capabilities. Credit: NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham
Hubble's ultraviolet capabilities are not replicated in any telescope now, or in the near future. Here, possible water plumes on Europa (disclosed earlier this year) are imaged using Hubble's ultraviolet filters. Credit: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center
An artist's concept of the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission, which is still on the drawing board and not approved for funding. This is a possible successor to some of Hubble's capabilities, on top of the current James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: JPL/NASA