This fall, the New York City home of NASA's space shuttle Enterprise will focus its attention on another big piece of space history: the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has announced "Hubble@25," a new temporary exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of the launch of the orbiting observatory. The display, which is set to open to the public on October 23, is the first major exhibition to share space with Enterprise inside the Intrepid's dedicated Space Shuttle Pavilion.
"Through showcasing Hubble produced images, and original and rarely seen artifacts, including actual tools used in space to repair the telescope, Hubble@25 will introduce the public to the history of the telescope and the unparalleled scientific achievements generated by the Hubble program," Intrepid representatives announced last week. [Amazing photos from the Hubble Space Telescope]
The Hubble Space Telescope launched to space aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990 and deployed into orbit a day later. For a quarter of a century, the observatory has served as an invaluable tool for astronomers and has captured the public's fascination through the stunning images it has returned, the cosmological discoveries it helped make, and the astronaut-led missions it took to repair and upgrade its instruments.
"The Hubble project has really revolutionized our view of how galaxies in the universe develop over billions of years, from small red dots to full-fledged spiral and elliptical galaxies and everything in between," Intrepid representatives wrote in a statement announcing Hubble@25. "This exhibit emphasizes the incredibly important idea that looking out in space is also looking back in time."
"With Hubble, we can look out to the distant universe, observe the distant past, and study the history of galaxy development," representatives with the museum added.
The Hubble@25 exhibition will feature the work of New York photographer Michael Soluri pulled from the pages of his upcoming book, "Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration." The Simon & Schuster publication, which is also due out this October, employs photographs and essays to document the fifth and final space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Intrepid, which is a converted World War II aircraft carrier berthed along a pier on the west side of Manhattan, is planning to augment the Hubble@25 exhibit with a series of public and education programs, including panels with astronauts, scientists and engineers who have contributed to the space telescope's history.
"The Hubble anniversary story is best told at the Intrepid," the museum's representatives said, citing their facility as the only museum in the northeast United States that hosts one of NASA's retired orbiters and which "has been dedicated to communicating space science to local, national and international visitors and students for over 30 years."
Robert Z. Pearlman is a Space.com contributing writer and the editor of collectSPACE.com, a Space.com partner site and the leading space history-focused news publication. Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.