Since launching, NASA’s most famous space telescope has beamed stunning images of spectacular galaxies, exploding stars and vast nebulae back to Earth and revolutionised everyone’sunderstanding of the universe.
To mark its 25th anniversary (#Hubble25), National Geographic Channel is reversing the lens on what is perhaps NASA’s most successful science project ever, in Hubble’s Cosmic Journey, premiering on Saturday, 25 April at 20:10 on National Geographic, channel 181 on DStv.
Sent into space on 24 April 1990, Hubble took longer to build and launch than NASA’s Apollo Moonshot missions. Initially, sending back blurry images, the flawed telescope nearly broke NASA, but it was saved by an audacious Space Shuttle repair mission three years later and has gone on to capture now-iconic images of previously unseen galaxies and star forming regions, like the famous Eagle and the Horsehead Nebulae.
Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and host of the channel’s upcoming talk show Star Talk, Hubble’s Cosmic Journey carries revealing interviews with the key players behind the saga of NASA’s ground-breaking telescope as well as astronomers and cosmologists like Stephen Hawking.
Tyson said, “Hubble is the most successful scientific instrument that has ever been created by every possible measure. It has more research papers published on it and more countries who are collaborators on it than any other. It’s an extraordinary instrument deserving of this kind of biographical reflection.”
Following years of research and development, delayed in part by the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the over 13-metre long device was launched in 1990. The triumphant moment quickly soured when NASA learned the 2.4 metre wide mirror inside turned out to be flawed. Many believed the space agency’s future rested on their ability to correct the optics.
Since that time, Hubble has operated on minimal battery power. The telescope withstands any shaking while hurtling through space to record the sharpest pictures over the deepest distances in unprecedented detail. Able to see galaxies over 13 billion years old, it is the most famous telescope in the world.
Hubble’s Cosmic Journey will air globally on National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages. The film is produced by Bigger Bang Productions. For National Geographic Channels International, Hamish Mykura is executive vice president and head of International Content.Hubble’s Cosmic Journey will premiere on Saturday, 25 April at 20:10 on National Geographic, channel 181 on DStv.