HUBBLE: THE WONDERS OF SPACE REVEALED
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Thirty years ago today, Nasa launched the
Hubble Space Telescope into orbit around Earth. Since then it has travelled more than 6.5 billion km, capturing images that have revolutionised our view of space. It points its telescope far and wide, from our neighbouring planets, to galaxies many millions of light-years away. This astonishing documentary chronicles its greatest achievements, as well as the devastating Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, which killed seven astronauts as it disintegrated on re-entry when returning from a repair mission.
Every story told here is one of baffling difficulty and accomplishment, from its discovery of the Hercules Nebula, with its towering pillars over 1,000 times longer than the length of our solar system, to the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image that contains nearly 10,000 galaxies. But it also puts a human face on those missions, meeting both those on the ground and those who risked their lives going into space to maintain Hubble, and the years of study and training that it takes – the people who know what it’s like to hold a piece of equipment worth more than $100 million and the staggering consequences of a simple broken screw. It’s impossible not to be awed by their stories. Catherine Gee
Spaceman: Mike Massimino on a repair mission to Hubble
Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson