Los Angeles, CA, March 29, 2005 – Two of the nation’s top space advocates joined today in issuing a statement calling for America to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The statement, issued jointly by Mars Society president Robert Zubrin and Space Frontier Foundation Founder Rick Tumlinson reads as follows:
“As spokesmen for organizations representing members of the public in this country and around the world concerned for the progress of human endeavors in space, we call upon NASA to do what is necessary and mount a human mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The product of four decades of vision, ingenuity, hard work, and courage of legions of dedicated people, Hubble is the most productive spacecraft ever launched and stands both as concrete proof of the tremendous benefits to be achieved by the human venture into space and as a shining symbol of the noblest commitment of our society to the search for truth.
“The technology simply does not exist to repair and upgrade Hubble using robotic or tele-robotic means. This leaves NASA with a clear choice: either send astronauts to repair and upgrade Hubble as originally planned, or lose the greatest astronomical observatory ever built.
“Frontiers are not opened by the meek. They are opened by the bold. The Hubble deserters’ embrace of irrational fear as a core ethic threatens a precedent that would preclude any future human accomplishments in space. Indeed, had such an ethic prevailed in our space program the past, we would never have been able to launch or repair Hubble, and the Apollo program would have been inconceivable. Should we embrace it now, the prospects for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars will decline to zero. The arguments advanced by those who would desert Hubble – that a repair mission involving humans is too risky – make no sense, and indeed have been repudiated by the leading scientific and engineering authorities of the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council assembled to pass judgment on the matter.
“If the space frontier is to be opened, it can only be done through courage. A decision to mount a human mission to repair Hubble would send a signal that the spirit that built this nation is alive and well. We call upon NASA to reaffirm its commitment to exploration and our pioneer heritage, and do what must be done by sending a crew of astronauts to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. Furthermore, we call upon the leaders and members of every other space organization, as well as all others dedicated to science, civilization, and the quest for knowledge about the universe and humanity’s place in it, to join us in this call.”
– Rick Tumlinson, Founder, Space Frontier Foundation
– Robert Zubrin, President, Mars Society
This press release is quoted by Leonard Davis of Space.com in this CNN.com article: http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/04/01/hubble.deorbit/index.html.