Today's launch of the Atlantis shuttle marks the beginning of the end for Hubble. The space telescope is scheduled to get its final set of repairs, extending its life and giving it greater abilities than ever before. "Everything we have done up to this point has been in preparation for the final five years," a NASA scientist tells the Orlando Sentinel.
Hubble will receive fresh batteries, a stronger camera, and a docking port that future spacecraft can use to move it when it's retired. NASA then expects to launch the James Webb Space Telescope a million miles from Earth. Its larger main mirror will make it better equipped to peer through gas and dust clouds, taking astronomers even closer to the final frontier.