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NASA Hopes To Resuscitate Hubble, Which Has Been Unconscious For A Week
By Alexa Heah, 23 Jun 2021
Image via Shutterstock
Last week, the Hubble Space Telescope mysteriously went offline after being plagued by a computer problem. NASA’s prized telescope was launched into the Earth’s orbit way back in 1990, and has helped scientists capture the universe in extraordinary detail.
The telescope has had the front row seat to numerous discoveries, including the births and deaths of stars, Pluto’s new moons, and interstellar objects traveling through the solar system. However, on June 13, Hubble’s payload computer suddenly stopped working.
According to Insider, NASA engineers have been working to analyze data from the telescope and trying to figure out what caused the computer to go offline. Till now, they still haven’t found the problem.
Scientists at NASA even tried to restart the Hubble on June 14, only to have it fail. The team then opted to switch to one of the telescope’s three backup modules, but the command failed to work.
In the subsequent days, several more attempts to revive the telescope failed, too. In the latest update on June 22, the Hubble team said testing was still underway to identify the issue and restore the telescope’s payload computer.
New tests have indicated that another piece of the computer’s hardware could have caused the problem, and the team is currently designing more tests to help further isolate the computer’s root issue.
NASA said that if the problem with the payload computer can’t be fixed, the team will switch to the extra hardware onboard the telescope, though that means it’ll take several days before Hubble can resume standard operations.
This isn’t the first instance of the Hubble going offline. As per Insider, earlier this year, in March, a software error caused the telescope to go into “safe mode.” It took the NASA team a week to identify the problem and fix it, eventually getting the telescope back online.
Fingers crossed the Hubble Space Telescope will resume its operations soon enough.
[via Insider, cover image via Shutterstock]
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