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By Chauncey Hollingsworth

The Hubble Space Telescope after its repair by crew members of the Shuttle Endeavour

Photo credit: NASA
First conceived in the Forties, then designed and built in the Seventies and Eighties, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed into low Earth orbit on April 24, 1990, seven years behind schedule and almost $2 billion over budget. Unhampered by the haze of Earth's atmosphere, the giant tube-shaped Cyclops was designed to pierce the deepest corners of the universe. Expectations were high, but were dashed almost immediately when the Hubble's lens cover wouldn't open and NASA refused to provide explanation. Dogged by antenna problems and gyro stabilizer mishaps, Hubble returned its first pictures of space -- they were blurrier than a Bombay porno.

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Title graphic photo credit: Bruce Balick (University of Washington)/Vincent Icke (Leiden University, The Netherlands)/Garrelt Mellema (Stockholm University)/NASA

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