back to article Herschel space 'scope flips its lid

The European Space Agency has successfully commanded the Herschel space telescope to open the protective cover protecting its instruments, meaning scientists can get down to the task of observing the universe in far infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths. In a department of the bleedin' obvious moment, the team behind …


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  1. The Original Ash


    ... the most dull YouTube video in the world.

    Cool (in a nerdy way) seeing how what I would expect to be rigid metals behave differently without the interaction of atmosphere or gravity.

  2. D L Clements
    Thumb Up

    More news on the Herschel blog site

    You can get more news on Herschel on the Herschel mission blog:

  3. Greg J Preece

    You would think...

    ...they'd use some kind of powered mechanism, not just fire the hatch open and let it bounce around!

  4. Annihilator

    "ESA takes lens cap off camera"

    Slow news day for the ESA then??

  5. Bad Beaver


    They totally pressed the button.

    The lid totally opened up.

  6. Chris 2

    @The Original Ash

    But but but - the video was made on earth, nowhere near microgravity or away from an atmosphere (might have been in a vacuum?).

    Lots of seemingly rigid things look wobbly in extreme slow motion.

  7. Martin 6 Silver badge

    @You would think

    There is no need to ever close it so the safest way is just to spring it open, as long as the spring eventually holds it out of the way.

    Lens caps haven't had a lot of luck in space.

    On one mars mission it didn't open, on the next they fitted explosive bolts and it came off but landed on the surface just where the probe was going to rill into the ground.

    Another infrared space telescope 10years ago the cap opened too soon while the telescope was pointed at the earth and boiled off all the coolant.

  8. Stuart Moore

    Not the actual release...

    The video's not of the actual, zero-g release sadly -

    "This is a test on an identical cryocover that had been kept closed for two years, and it worked perfectly."

  9. Antony King


    What's that bit of debris bottom middle, about 30 seconds in ? Anything important ?

  10. Davy Boy
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    @You would think

    Also, how much weight did the whole mechanism take up compared to the extra weight required for motors/batteries to power the single use lens opener. Now they have saved the weight for this, they can use it for more batteries for the scope itself.

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