Hubble is the single most useful science instrument ever created

Illustration for article titled Hubble is the single most useful science instrument ever created

No other single scientific device has gathered more data, confirmed more theories, made more discoveries, and given us more pure visual joy and awe than the Hubble Space Telescope—the single most useful science instrument ever created. NASA has just published some updated statistics to prove it.

  • Hubble has made more the 1 million observations since its mission began in 1990.
  • Hubble has observed 38,000 celestial targets.
  • As of Hubble's 24th anniversary in April 2014, Hubble's observations have taken up more than 100 terabytes of data.
  • Hubble currently generates 844 gigabytes of data per month.
  • About 4,000 astronomers from all over the world have used the telescope to probe the universe.
  • Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 11,000 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.

Here are some vital statistics too:

  • Hubble captures pictures of stars, planets and galaxies from its orbit around Earth while moving at 17,500 mph.
  • Hubble has orbited Earth more than 3 billion miles along a circular low-Earth orbit of about 350 miles altitude
  • Hubble weighs 24,500 pounds — as much as two full-grown elephants.
  • Hubble's primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across.
  • Hubble is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long — the length of a large school bus.

What an incredible machine. Godspeed, Hubble! Here's hoping you never ever stop working, no matter what.


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As a single instrument yes, but microscopes have been the most productive science instrument ever.