Hubble’s Greatest Discoveries Weren’t Planned – They Were Surprises 

It was already 28 years ago that the Hubble Space Telescope was launched and deployed in low-Earth orbit, where it remains today. Outfitted with a 2.4 meter mirror, a slew of instruments designed for viewing stars, planets, nebulae and galaxies, Hubble became humanity’s first civilization-class space telescope. Although it had a number of science goals, its most ambitious was what gave rise to its name: it was the Hubble telescope because it was built to measure the Hubble expansion rate of the Universe. But what Hubble wound up teaching us went far beyond anything it was designed for, and that was due to a combination of three factors. First, Hubble was overbuilt for its mission. Second, Hubble was repaired, upgraded, and serviced. And third, the people administering Hubble had the foresight to green-light some very bold, ambitious proposals. This review article summarizes what we have learned.

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