The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a multi-instrument observatory that has dramatically changed humanity's understanding of the universe for over two decades, with dramatic images of stars, planets, and galaxies. Hubble orbits Earth; its position above the atmosphere, which distorts and reduces the light that reaches the surface, gives it a view of the universe that typically surpasses that of ground-based telescopes. HST's various instruments investigate the universe in the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared portions of the spectrum. HST was deployed from the space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990. After that, the telescope underwent five servicing missions to repair or upgrade various instruments and systems.
The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) is an instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope. It combines a camera with a spectrograph, and covers a wide range of wavelengths from the near-infrared region into the ultraviolet. The spectrograph spreads out light gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope so that it can be analyzed to determine things like the chemical composition, motions, and temperatures of astronomical objects. STIS also has an instrument called a coronagraph. It can block light from bright objects in a region being observed, which make sit possible to study fainter targets nearby. STIS was installed on the Hubble Space Telescope during Servicing Mission 2 in 1997. The instrument malfunctioned in August 2004, and was repaired during Servicing Mission 4 in 2009.
Stellar Imager is a mission concept for a space-based ultraviolet/visible light Interferometer to image and study the surfaces of stars, with more than 200 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission's primary objective is to provide data needed to develop and validate a predictive dynamo model for the sun and other magnetically active stars. The instrument would achieve this objective by characterizing the patterns of surface magnetic activity for a large sample of sun-like stars; characterizing the internal structure and differential rotation of these stars; and determining the dependence of dynamo action on mass, internal structure, flow patterns, and time by carrying out a population study of sun-like stars.
Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) is a set of concepts for future missions to detect and characterize earthlike planets around nearby stars. It comprises a visible-light coronagraph and a formation-flying infrared interferometer. The TPF observatories will measure the size, temperature, and placement of planets as small as the Earth in the habitable zones of distant solar systems. In addition, TPF's spectroscopy could enable atmospheric chemists and biologists to identify potential 'biomarkers' of life on other planets such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, and methane.
TESS will use an array of telescopes to perform an all-sky survey to discover transiting exoplanets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, in orbit around the nearest and brightest stars in the sky. Its goal is to identify terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars. TESS will provide targets for JWST to observe and characterize their atmospheres, potentially finding habitable planets in nearby solar systems.
Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) is an instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronauts installed WFC3 during the final servicing mission to the space observatory in May 2009. With a "panchromatic" grasp of light extending from the ultraviolet through the visible and into the infrared, WFC3 is an extremely powerful imaging instrument, extending Hubble's capabilities by seeing deeper into the universe.