Metal Earth Model of the Hubble Space Telescope

Metal Earth: Hubble Space Telescope

SKU: 1456
Stock: 2
Price: $6.99

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Are You Looking at Me?

The Hubble Space Telescope is an easy Metal Earth model. It consists of just 18 pieces on one sheet of metal. Assembled, it measures 3" x 2" x 2.5" (7.62 x 5.08 x 6.35 cm). The Hubble telescope has revolutionized astronomy since 1990.

Each Metal Earth model is laser etched in meticulous detail on 11 cm (4.33") metal sheets. Pop out the pieces by hand (or use wire cutters to get especially crisp lines), bend the tabs using needle-nose pliers, and fit them together as shown in the simple pictorial instructions. For maximum dramatic effect, display your model on the LED Display Base or the Solar Spinner (sold separately, see the Related Products below).

Please note that Metal Earth models have sharp edges and are not suitable for small children. Metal Earth was originally called MetalWorks.

 Are you curious...?

Rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth first imagined placing a telescope in earth orbit as early as 1923, and the idea got serious when astronomer Lyman Spitzer published a more in-depth evaluation of its benefits in 1946. Spitzer spent most of his career pushing to make a space telescope a reality and finally got NASA on board in 1965. By 1968 NASA had firm plans to launch a Large Space Telescope (LST) in 1979, anticipating that the space shuttle would be ready to perform maintenance by then.

Space projects have a way of taking longer and costing more than expected, and the LST was no exception. Ultimately a somewhat smaller design was funded for launch in 1983. It was named after Edwin Hubble, who had discovered that the universe is expanding. Work on the HST's mirror and spacecraft systems proved to be more challenging than expected and the launch date slipped to 1986. And then came the Challenger disaster.

The completed HST had to be kept in a nitrogen-filled clean room at a cost of $6 million per month while the space program was on hold. By the time it finally launched in 1990, the $400 million telescope had racked up $2.5 billion in bills. But the dream was about to be realized at last.

It soon turned into a nightmare as NASA realized that the telescope's main mirror was flawed. The HST became a laughingstock, mentioned in the same breath as the Hindenburg, the Titanic, and the Edsel. Scientists were able to work around the HST's flaw and produce useful science for the next three years, but it was hardly the triumph that Oberg had envisioned and Spitzer had devoted his life to bring about. 

During that time, NASA was able to precisely characterize the mirror's flaw. Although it was probably the most precise mirror of its type ever made, its perimeter was too flat by 2,200 nanometers. In optics, that's huge. But once the problem was understood, NASA could design corrective lenses, and the shuttle proved its worth in 1993 by installing and upgrading components that finally realized the HST's potential.

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