It feels like the universe is shrinking, but it's just that the unknown parts are growing smaller in our human perspective, thanks to advances in technology. It certainly looks more colorful than previous photographs.
It's hard to believe it, but it's been nearly two decades since the Hubble Space Telescope went into orbit, turning science fiction into fact. The newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 gathers light from near-infrared wavelengths. This allows scientists to see how galaxies developed early on. Researchers are currently searching for previously undetectable galaxies.
What's especially interesting is that some researchers feel that the Hubble may soon discover "quantum foam" -- which apparently will reconcile relativity and quantum mechanics. Quantum foam, or spacetime foam, is reputedly the foundations of the fabric of the universe. This includes the hypothetical wormholes frequently used as plot devices in science fiction.
Before we get too used to Hubble, NASA and ESA is developing the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is expected to begin operation in 2014. This September engineers began simulations on the Webb Telescope.