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Science Instruments The Vault

The science instruments aboard Hubble are large, complex devices. Some are similar in size and shape to a telephone booth and others are similar to a grand piano. The telescope was designed to hold four telephone booth-sized instruments and four piano-shaped instruments. The instruments take digital electronic pictures of stars and send the picture data to the ground where scientists analyze the information to make discoveries about our universe. This picture shows an astronaut removing the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph in preparation for a new instrument during the Second Servicing Mission in 1997.

Three instruments are in active scientific use on Hubble: the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, and a Fine Guidance Sensor. Other instrument bays are occupied by the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, which is now dormant due to the depletion of its coolant; the Faint Object Camera; and the corrective optical device called COSTAR, which is no longer needed.

During the next servicing mission, the Faint Object Camera will be replaced by a new instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The final servicing mission will feature the removal of COSTAR and the installation of another new instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.

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