Amazing Space logoServicing Mission 4 > SM4 Glossary

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Infrared (IR) light

The part of the electromagnetic spectrum that has slightly lower energy than visible light, but is not visible to the human eye. Just as there are low-pitched sounds that cannot be heard, there is low-energy light that cannot be seen. Infrared light can be detected as the heat from warm-blooded animals.

Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI)

A “skin” or blanket of insulation covering the Hubble Space Telescope that protects the observatory from extreme temperatures. This insulation shields the telescope from the cold of outer space and also reflects sunlight so that the telescope does not become too warm. The deterioration of the current MLI puts the instruments in jeopardy of failure when orbiting on the Sun side of Earth. The MLI on Hubble is made up of many layers of aluminized Kapton, with an outer layer of aluminized Teflon.

Near Infrared Camera And Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS)

An instrument that observes objects in near-infrared wavelengths. Astronauts installed NICMOS aboard the Hubble Space Telescope in February 1997 during the Second Servicing Mission. NICMOS has provided valuable information on the dusty centers of galaxies and the formation of stars and planets.

New Outer Blanket Layer (NOBL)

Covers that protect Hubble’s damaged external blankets in order to maintain the telescope’s normal operating temperatures. The covers are made of specially coated stainless steel foil, which is trimmed to fit each particular equipment bay door.