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NASA tasks the Hubble Telescope with five more years of service

The telescope will still be in use when its successor launches in 2018.

Despite its successor launching in 2018, NASA is extending duty for the Hubble Space Telescope for another five years. The imaging spacecraft will continue to capture breathtaking photos from orbit until 2021 with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The final servicing mission to the telescope took place in 2009, and now it's set to provide images from our solar system and beyond into the next decade.

In 2018, NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope to be the primary observation tool for the 2020s. It should be interesting to see how astronomers leverage two imaging spacecraft for the short time both are in use. While the Hubble uses visible and ultraviolet light, the JWST uses infrared, so employing the two in tandem could provide some super detailed views. The Hubble Telescope turned 25 last year, and we compiled some of its greatest images right here.