IMAX 3-D Cameras Ready for Hubble Mission
When the Atlantis launches May 11 for the space shuttle's final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, IMAX cameras will be on board to film the mission's five spacewalks needed to repair and upgrade the Hubble. The IMAX footage will be combined with Hubble's detailed images of distant galaxies for an IMAX film set for release next year.
An IMAX team trained the Atlantis crew to operate the cameras. One camera will be mounted outside the crew cabin in the shuttle's cargo bay to capture images of the two teams of spacewalking astronauts as they conduct what NASA calls "some of the most challenging work ever undertaken in space as they replace and refurbish many of the telescope's precision instruments."
The Atlantis team will install new cameras and instruments on the Hubble, which can currently see distant galaxies and stars that were forming when the universe was just 700 million years old. The new cameras will probe even deeper into space, seeing the universe at about 500 million years after the theoretical Big Bang.
Astronauts will be installing a new wide field camera that bests the current Hubble model by seeing in both ultraviolet and near infrared, as well as visible light. The camera will be able to see 90 times more objects than the current camera.
"IMAX has developed innovative 3-D image capture and projection technology that creates a large-scale, immersive educational experience in which those of us on the ground are no longer passive observers of spaceflight, we're active participants," Bob Jacobs, NASA's acting assistant administrator for public affairs, said in a statement.
The Atlantis team will also install a Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, which will replace the Hubble's current corrective lens, in addition to attaching to Hubble a docking port for future missions to the telescope.
IMAX cameras will film all of the installions.
"Fifteen years ago, we made a film about space exploration that included Hubble, when it started sending back the first images," IMAX producer and director Toni Myers said. "Today, we have Hubble's entire phenomenal legacy of data to explore. With IMAX 3-D, we can transport people to galaxies that are 13 billion light years away-back to the edge of time. Real star travel is here at last."