The venerable Hubble Space Telescope is recovering from a glitch that halted its science operations over the weekend, in response to NASA.
The telescope entered “safe mode” unexpectedly on Sunday morning (March 7), stalling the observatory’s science observations on account of an obvious software program glitch. Science operations resumed late Thursday (March 11). Whereas Hubble is partially again to work, NASA continues to be troubleshooting one instrument on the 30-year-old telescope, in response to an announcement launched on Friday (Mar. 12).
“The telescope has accomplished its first statement since returning to science mode, utilizing the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument to map fuel flows in lively galactic nuclei,” NASA officers wrote in the statement. “Broad Subject Digicam three stays suspended whereas the group investigates a low-voltage concern that prevented it from returning to operations.” The Broad Subject Digicam three, or WFC3, was put in in 2009 throughout NASA’s closing servicing mission to Hubble by astronauts.
The WFC3 concern was an “sudden error,” in response to NASA, that occurred when the telescope was transitioning from protected mode into pre-science after the group addressed the preliminary software program glitch. NASA provided no further particulars in regards to the digital camera, noting solely that “The group is presently reviewing that concern and doable options.”
The software program glitch stemmed from a current modification to the telescope’s code meant to deal with Hubble’s gyroscope issues, the assertion continues. Hubble makes use of gyroscopes to level itself correctly with a purpose to lock onto a science targets throughout observations. The telescope has six gyroscopes, however solely three are nonetheless working after three a long time in orbit. For now, the Hubble group is obstructing that enhancement; later, engineers will tweak it for future use.
Whereas the telescope was in protected mode, the group recognized one other concern the spacecraft is experiencing. The telescope sports activities a door at its high that may routinely block out the solar’s mild and warmth in case Hubble mistakenly turns within the course of the star. The door hasn’t been referred to as into service in that approach to date, in response to NASA, however it’s meant to close when the telescope enters protected mode. Engineers now imagine they’ve addressed the problem by switching the door to depend on its backup motor.
The Hubble House Telescope launched in April 1990; astronauts made 5 separate visits to restore and improve the observatory utilizing NASA’s area shuttle fleet, most lately in 2009. Ever since these autos retired in 2011, Hubble has been by itself.
Nonetheless, NASA is assured that the long-lasting telescope has loads extra work forward of it. “Hubble’s devices are anticipated to provide ground-breaking science for years to return,” in response to the assertion.
E-mail Meghan Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org or observe her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.