Spacewalking astronauts ventured out today to finish repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope, never to be touched by human hands again. It was the fifth and final spacewalk for the crew of the shuttle Atlantis, and the final planned visit by astronauts, ever, to Hubble. The astronauts outfitted Hubble with two state-of-the-art science instruments totaling $220 million that should allow the telescope to peer as far back as 13 billion years.
Keen on leaving the 19-year-old observatory in the best possible shape, the two astronauts were tasked with giving the telescope another fresh set of batteries, a new sensor for fine pointing, and steel foil sheets to protect against radiation and extreme temperature changes. The team also managed to fix two science instruments that had broken down years ago.