The Hubble space telescope has enabled remarkable advancements in astronomy over the last 25 years, far more than paying back the few billion it cost to build and maintain the system. That said, new technologies are enabling the construction of greatly improved space telescopes. Some astronomers, including Hubble researchers, believe that future generations of space telescopes will give us a much better chance to finally settle the question of alien life.
More on the Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble space telescope was a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency, and was launched on the space shuttle Discovery on April 24th, 1990. Of interest, astronauts had to take a spacewalk to fix a major problem with the telescope back in 1993, but since then, Hubble has been expanding astronomers knowledge and and bringing gorgeous pictures of the cosmos within reach of virtually everyone on the planet.