Yerkes Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope, I Weep for Both
I said to my daughter, "Why don't they just drop the Hubble Space Telescope on Yerkes? Make it a two for one."
I was literally born at Yerkes back when my father was director of the observatory. I crawled around on the mosaics of the constellations in the front lobby and this is where I discovered Pegasus, my dear heavenly horse. The stone sculture of Apollo and his chariot was so impressed upon my mind, I could recall its shape exactly all my life. Growing up there was like living in a scientific Disneyland and the grounds were like Central Park, beautifully groomed, huge, and it was all mine most of the time.
I had a goose and a collie and we would wander around the many acres of parkland in the long summer days and fireflies lit the trees up like the fourth of July in June.
The Hubble Space Telescope---my father was part of the team that created the first space telescope but in 1969, it plunged into the sea right after take off. We then went to Congress to get another one up. They were reluctant. I wrote for the newsmedia, "We will see the Hand of God at the moment of Creation" and indeed, the Hubble has been a never ending wonder, we are like people with bad vision suddenly seeing the beauty of the world when given a pair of glasses.
Well...a sardonic note. When Reagan wanted to talk about space exploration at his State of the Union, it blew up. Reagan wasn't all that serious about space exploration, anyway. He wanted Star Wars and domination of the Universe, on the cheap, of course.
Then Bush II wanted to talk about going to Mars and the Space Shuttle disintigrates right over Palestine, Texas, going down in flames. I say, we should pass a law forbidding Presidents from talking about space exploration whenever anything is being launched.
The world has just witness a great boom in telescope construction. Much of this has been happening elsewhere. The competition to see who can see the furthest and the most is very strong. Yet here, I sense a weakening of will. The physics of the Big Bang and understanding how galaxies formed and how curved space is (it is VERY twisted with some really awesomely deep creases) is roiling the astronomical world as we see more and more we understand less and less which is a good thing because a new physics/astronomic revolution is underway! When Corpernicus first published his revolutionary works, the word "revolution" became a code word for great change. And we are just in the very beginning of a new great revolution and America's political class could care less. Indeed, their followers actively hate astronomy and hate science and want to live the technological easy living life while spurning the creation machine that makes this all possible!
This is probably why the Deepest View of Galaxies project was pretty much ignored by the news media. The closer we get to seeing the Hand of God at the Moment of Creation, the less attention the media and many Americans attend to this. Willful blindness will now become actual blindness as we ponder destroying the greatest telescope built by humans on earth.
The end of Yerkes and the end of Hubble both make me very sad.