If it weren‚Äôt for the Hubble telescope, our selection of dope images for lock screens and desktop backgrounds would be far scantier. Thankfully, NASA‚Äôs omnipresent orbiter has been snapping celestial photos for a good quarter century‚ÄĒbut its construction actually began way earlier, back in the late 70s, continuing throughout the next decade.

These images show Hubble in its earlier days‚ÄĒback when it was still just an ambitious project under construction. Since shipping to space on April 24, 1990, it‚Äôs captured hundreds of thousands of images‚ÄĒincluding iconic discoveries like the Pillars of Creation‚ÄĒand has fundamentally shaped the way we see the universe. Not bad for disco-era hardware.

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The Conversation pointed out this photo of Hubble’s 8-foot diameter Primary Mirror being polished in 1979. Source: Wikimedia Commons


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Early construction in 1980 at a Lockheed Martin plant. Source: Wikimedia Commons


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Engineers inspect Hubble’s Primary Mirror in 1981. Source: Wikimedia Commons


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The solar panels used to power the ‚Äėscope are inspected in 1985. Source: Wikimedia Commons


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Hubble’s skeleton being assembled at Lockheed. Source: NASA


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Basking in the main mirror. 1990. Source: NASA


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Large and in charge. Source: NASA


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Prepping for launch at Kennedy Space Center. Source: NASA


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And voila, the finished product, seen here during a servicing mission in 2009. Decades later and still rockin’ it. Keep that astral eye candy coming, Hubble.

(images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

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