Hubble's Universe Unfiltered

  • August 1, 2013

    How do you think the Hubble Space Telescope affects the world today?

    Q: How do you think the Hubble Space Telescope affects the world today?

    A: For professional astronomy, Hubble is one of the premier facilities for research. Its science impact is immense. However, astronomy is not a science with immediate societal benefit. Our discoveries do not directly change daily life, though our work has had numerous long-term benefits.

    The greatest short-term public impact has been wonder and curiosity. The images we produce, and which are widely disseminated, provoke a sense of awe in all of us. Hubble has perhaps done more to expose the public to the magnificent celestial sights than any other telescope in history. And the more powerful impact is to awaken the innate human curiosity. Science is a pursuit of the restlessly inquisitive mind. Scientific thinking is often found lacking in an entertainment-heavy media. Hubble's ability to reach the public and get them to wonder what, how, and why are a distinctly positive influence toward raising the level of discussion in the public sphere.