Astronauts will save—and drastically upgrade—the Hubble Space Telescope in an unprecedented mission this year, NewScientist Space reports. The mission will make the Hubble 90 times more powerful than it originally was, but will require spacewalkers to complete a delicate electronics repair job in zero gravity while wearing bulky spacesuits. Without the tune-up, Hubble would go offline by 2011.
After several rounds of practice in the pool (or “neutral buoyancy laboratory”), lead spacewalker John Grunsfeld thinks the risky repair is possible. “I still believe that Hubble science is something worth risking my life [for],” he said. “I know I have six other crew members who believe that as well.” But NASA is ready to delay the mission if it seems too dangerous.