The Hubble Has Broken Down Yet Again

Please keep the Hubble in your thoughts.

Hubble Trouble

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has broken down yet again, bringing scientific activities to a halt.

Scientists were forced to put the telescope, which was launched in 1990, into safe mode last week due to an “ongoing gyroscope issue,” according to a NASA update.

Fortunately, the Hubble’s instruments are “stable and the telescope is in good health,” meaning that its days following 34 years of groundbreaking observations aren’t over quite yet.

Gyro the Flaggin’

According to the space agency, one of the telescope’s three gyroscopes, which help the telescope turn and ensure it’s pointing in the right direction, started giving faulty readings.

The three gyros, in addition to three others, were installed on the space telescope during its last in-person servicing mission, which involved NASA’s Space Shuttle in 2009.

In safe mode, all science operations are suspended. Team members back on the ground are now looking for potential fixes.

However, the Hubble is technically able to observe the universe with just one gyro if push comes to shove.

The aging telescope has been through its fair share of rough days, including problems related to synchronizing instruments and data requests back in 2021.

The same gyro caused the telescope to enter safe mode in November after returning “similar faulty readings,” according to NASA. Fortunately, the team was able to fix the issue at the time, reenabling the Hubble to make use of all three of its gyros in early December.

Apart from faulty hardware, the Hubble has already had to deal with an increasingly crowded orbit, with captured images being tainted by satellites that have drastically shot up in number since the telescope launched in 1990.

Despite the latest hiccup, NASA is unperturbed and is predicting that Hubble will “continue making groundbreaking discoveries… throughout this decade and possibly into the next.”

More on the Hubble: Hubble Detects Uber-Strong Radio Transmission From Ancient “Blob”

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This post was originally published on Futurism

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