This cookie story reminds me...
A few years ago I was touring the Jet Propulsion Lab and they showed
me a prototype of the Hubble Space Telescope. "Pretty cool machine,
guys," I said, "but is there anyway us amateur astronomers can get in
on this kind of action?" They said yes, plans for the HST were
available through the gift shop. "How much?" I asked. They said
"Fifty." I said "Great! Here's my American Express Plutonium Card!"
I picked up the plans and went home, happy as a clam, until I got my
American Express bill. The total amount due was $50,119.00! I
figured the $119 must have been from one of these Northwest student
ticket vouchers, but where was that $50,000 from? Only then did I
realize that JPL had charged me, no fifty dollars, but fifty THOUSAND
dollars. Boy was I mad. But it was too late to return the plans and
get my fifty thousand dollars back, so I just chalked it up to
experience. But now I'm getting my revenge... I asked the folks at
the JPL copyright office if I could give the plans out to all my
friends and they said, "Heck, why not? What do we need with
royalties? Tell the world!" So I've written up the key steps here.
Please post them to every bboard you can think of and mail them to all
your friends. Remember, if you break the chain you'll get seven years
of bad sunspot interference.
You will need:
1 launch vehicle.
126 "Master Constructor" Erector Sets(tm).
1 Radio Shack(tm) Pro-2001 scanner.
1 2-meter block of glass.
1 box of aluminum foil.
4 sheets of #20 (coarse) sandpaper.
4 sheets of #150 (fine) sandpaper.
2 children's magnifying glasses.
(optional) filters and instrumentation as needed.
1. Using the erector sets, construct a superstructure capable of
supporting a 2-meter mirror and whatever instrumentation you will
be using. Make sure that the superstructure can survive the
G-forces during launch. Don't be tempted to skimp on the nuts and
2. Using the #20 sandpaper, grind the block of glass until it takes
on the shape of a convex mirror. Be very careful in this step
because if you get the shape wrong you'll have to start over
again. Use the #150 sandpaper to smooth out any irregularities
and fix any minor problems with the focus. Then melt the aluminum
foil and vacuum deposit 1-2 atomic layers of aluminum on the
surface of the mirror. Mount the mirror in its place in the
3. Mount the children's magnifying glasses at the focal point of the
mirror. These will serve as an eyepiece for your instruments.
4. Open the back of the Pro-2001 scanner. There will be a 16-pin
chip on the upper left of the circuit board labelled 1Y1169AV.
Carefully clip out the fourth pin on the left and remove it from
the chip. This will convert your Pro-2001 scanner into the usually
much more expensive Pro-2010 scanner with orbital transceiver
capabilities. Close the back of the scanner, check that the
batteries are in place, mount it in the superstructure, and
connect it to your instruments.
5. Make one last check of everything and you're ready to launch!
This is a true story, every bit of it, I swear on my father's sister's
grave. Even if it isn't, I hope that you get as much use and
enjoyment out of your home-built Hubble Space Telescope as I have from
Comment from a System Manager at the Space Telescope Science Institute
(which didn't _build_ the Hubble, but operates it):
Hmm. Got the instructions for the mirror wrong.