|Hubble's Deep Field image|
Other than the plentiful chocolate available, there is something else worth celebrating today. 21 years ago, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope, arguably one of its most important endeavors to date.
With an originally expected life span of ten years, Hubble has amazed everyone by more than doubling this. While Hubble's beginnings were uncertain once a defect was detected in the lens, once this was corrected Hubble quickly became one of science and the public's most cherished tools. Granting us images both scientifically rich and stunningly beautiful, few, if any, events since the initial moon landing has captured the attention and imagination of the public. With images that today are considered high art, immediately recognized anywhere and still inspiring people across the globe to look to the wonders of the universe as they can be unveiled through the lens of science, the Hubble Space Telescope has far out-shined even the most optomistic of expectations.
For this occasion, Life has posted a collection of many of the more impressive images taken by this extraordinary telescope. Last year to mark this occasion, Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, compiled a list of "10 Things You Don't Know about Hubble".
While the Hubble is reaching the end of its existence with no more planned servicing missions, it is certainly one experiment that will be synonymous with humanities curiosity and the universes' undeniable beauty for years to come.