Although the Hubble Space Telescope is still a marvel of engineering and continues to provide quality information to astronomers and astrophysicists alike, the fact of the matter is that like any tool, the length of time that it can be employed is of course limited. As of the current time, 5 expensive service missions have been performed on the Hubble Space Telescope while in low-earth orbit. As such, NASA has determined that it will not expend further money fitting and repairing any further components upon the telescope. Instead, resources are being placed towards the replacement telescope, the James Webb Telescope; due for orbital insertion around the year 2018. As such, the Hubble Space Telescope, barring any further disruptions in its currently functional systems, is expected to continue in current operational service until somewhere around 2013-2014. Naturally, during the time that the space telescope is still in service, astronomers and researchers the world over will still be utilizing it for mapping, exploration, and discovery in the fields that have thus far been mentioned. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the replacement for the Hubble will not be ready for at least another 5-7 years; thus leaving a large gap in which little to any fresh space telescope-based research can be conducted. Astronomers have noted that the Hubble Space Telescope itself will continue to retain its low earth orbit until somewhere between the years 2019-2032; depending on the activity of the sun during these periods (Mohamed & Reshetnikov 160)It is evidently clear from the discussion that seeking to establish the degree to which the Hubble Space Telescope has provided a level of discovery and inference into our galaxy as well as the solar system and universe would be like trying to determine the ways in which the space shuttle has helped with space exploration and discovery.
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