Viva Hubble?

According to National Public Radio: Report Discourages NASA Plan to Save Hubble

A confidential report commissioned by NASA has concluded that the space agency’s plan to use a robot to save the Hubble telescope is highly risky.

The robot would install two new instruments and replace batteries and gyroscopes.

But the report suggests NASA should let the aging telescope die. It suggests that NASA send up the new instruments on a second, bare-bones telescope.

This sounds like a very good idea (depending on the cost, of course, and if NASA has to cancel anything else to make room for it).

Update: The US National Academy of Sciences has issued its report on the future of Hubble and the conclusion is somewhat different:

NASA should repair it using a space shuttle mission, not a robotic one. The agency should consider launching the manned mission as early as possible after the space shuttle is deemed safe to fly again, because some of the telescope’s components could degrade to the point where it would no longer be usable for science.