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If Galileo had had to deal with a stingy Congress, dozens of independent contractors, and NASA’s bureaucracy, he might have tucked his spy glass into a drawer and saved himself a date with the inquisitor. But the age of the ingenious tinkerer is over. In tracing the nearly 50-year history of the Hubble Observatory from idea to reality, Robert W. Smith, author of The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology, and Politics, discusses how modern research and big government intersect in the Space Age. At 7:30 p.m. at the National Air & Space Museum’s Einstein Planetarium, 6th & Independence Ave. SW. FREE. (202) 357-2700. (Greg Kitsock)