The Hubble Telescope, which was quite nearly lost this month to a combination of old age and a fritzy 486, has resumed "regular science operations" today, and sent back this spectacular picture of a pair of galaxies engaging in some kind of celestial slow dance. The mission to replace the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling unit (SIC&DH), the temperamental system at the heart this whole debacle, is planned for April of next year. Until then we'll be able to depend on a steady supply of cosmo-porn, courtesy of the Hubble's backup systems.
Surprisingly, the replacement SIC&DH, which will undergo extensive testing starting in mid-December, will be constructed from hardware of the same vintage as the hilariously old version that keeps flipping out in space right now. Whatever works, I guess.
Even by Hubble standards, the latest picture is pretty amazing. As much I'd like to start off on a some kind of Saganesque soliloquy about sand, whales and the vastness of space, I can't because this picture looks exactly like every third Starfox 64 level. Seriously NASA, are you playing some kind of trick on us? Is the Hubble really OK? Is space even real? [NASA via The Register]