A critical malfunction on Hubble halts the observation of the Universe

NASA’s iconic Hubble veteran space telescope is suffering from problems again. According to the space agency, the gyroscope failed at the observatory last week. Thus, this is the second stop of scientific research in less than six months.

Hubble telescope on Earth’s orbit. Illustration: NASA

NASA reported that Hubble automatically switched to safe mode on Tuesday, April 23, when one of the three gyroscopes began transmitting incorrect data. Engineers are now working to fix the problem in order to restore the telescope’s operation as soon as possible.

This is the second time the space telescope has stopped its research due to similar problems. Earlier, in November 2023, one of the gyroscopes also gave strange readings, which forced the observatory to switch to safe mode. The next day, the telescope resumed operation, but suddenly switched back to safe mode. It was finally brought back to life in mid-December 2023.

Gyroscopes are used to determine the position of the telescope and to maintain its orientation in space. Although Hubble launched with six gyroscopes on board, only three are currently working. If necessary, the telescope can even function with one. But for greater efficiency and reliability, all three are used.

One of the solutions that NASA engineers consider is to reconfigure the space observatory to work with one gyroscope, leaving the other two in reserve. 

“NASA anticipates Hubble will continue making groundbreaking discoveries, working with other observatories, such as the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope, throughout this decade and possibly into the next,” the space agency said in a statement.

Hubble was launched in 1990 as the first optical space telescope. Since then, it has provided many incredible images and has made significant contributions to our understanding of space. During its stay in orbit, it overcame many challenges and malfunctions. Therefore, NASA is confident in its imminent “recovery”.

Earlier, we told you interesting facts about the Hubble Space Telescope.

According to nasa.gov

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