The Hubble Space Telescope is damaged, and NASA is scrambling to figure out what’s wrong with the workhorse observatory’s most significant problem in almost a decade.
Astronomers were using the 31-year-old Hubble telescope to study pulsing stars 200 million miles away when it suddenly stopped working on June 13.
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After one of its onboard computers malfunctioned on June 13, the Hubble Space Telescope was put into safe mode, with science operations shut off.
“NASA completed a review to assess all factors and minimise risks related to Hubble’s possible switch to backup hardware, which may occur later this week. Investigation into the cause of the payload computer issue is ongoing,” NASA said.
The agency’s initial findings pointed to a degrading computer memory module as the source of the computer halt. When the operations team attempted to switch to a backup memory module, however, the command to initiate the backup module failed to complete.
The main computer then automatically placed all science instruments in a safe mode configuration. Control centre personnel at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland restarted the payload computer on Monday, June 14, but it soon experienced the same problem, the space agency said.
Hundreds of astronomy projects had to be placed on pause or cancelled due to the failure of the orbiting telescope, which NASA is trying to figure out what went wrong.
Efforts to comprehend galaxies, comets, stars, exoplanets, and the entire cosmos are at stake.
(With inputs from agencies)
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