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Monday, July 21, 2014

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Taylor named to Hubble committee

The National Academy of Sciences has named Princeton physicist Joseph Taylor to a committee charged with re-evaluating the fate of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The committee was formed as a result of a decision in January by NASA to cancel an upcoming space shuttle mission that would have conducted repairs and upgrades for the space telescope. Without the repairs and corrections to its orbit, the telescope would likely fail by about 2007, at least four years earlier than had been planned.

The 20-member panel is called the "Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope." It will review the safety of using the space shuttle to bring astronauts to the Hubble for a service mission. It also will examine the feasibility of alternative approaches involving robots. The committee will be chaired by Louis Lanzerotti, a consultant to Bell Laboratories and professor of solar-terrestrial research at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Taylor, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics, is Princeton's former dean of the faculty. He specializes in experimental astrophysics and shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of a type of pulsar that allowed important studies of gravity.

Contact: Tom Bartus (609) 258-3601

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