Latest Hubble Space Telescope glitch forces NASA to switch on safe mode, pause research | Tech News

Latest Hubble Space Telescope glitch forces NASA to switch on safe mode, pause research

According to NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope has been hit by a problem and it has imposed a temporary pause in its scientific operations.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Dec 01 2023, 10:26 IST
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Hubble Space Telescope
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Hubble Space Telescope
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Hubble Space Telescope
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Hubble Space Telescope
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NASA has been working to resume operations on the Hubble Space Telescope after it entered safe mode on November 23. (AP)

NASA's iconic space telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope, is currently undergoing a temporary pause in its scientific operations. According to NASA, this temporary pause occurred due to a gyroscope issue that forced NASA to trigger the safe mode on November 23. NASA is now working to get the Hubble Space Telescope to resume its operations. Notably, the Hubble Telescope has been working for decades, but the technology is very old now and there is a danger that it may go offline permanently. The telescope has passed its actual use-by date years ago.

Hubble Space Telescope on pause

NASA has been working to resume science operations Hubble Space Telescope after it entered safe mode on November 23 due to an ongoing gyroscope issue. However, the telescope's instruments remain stable and its overall health is good.

According to a blog by NASA, the gyroscopes play a crucial role in determining the telescope's pointing direction by measuring its turn rate. The telescope first entered safe mode on November 19, with subsequent recovery efforts successfully restoring normal observations. It consecutively entered the safe mode again on November 21 and 23 after following successful recoveries.

NASA's operations team is actively running tests to identify and characterize the gyro issue and working towards finding effective solutions. If needed, the spacecraft can be re-configured to operate with just one gyro. Despite having six new gyros installed during a space shuttle servicing mission in 2009, only three are currently operational, including the one experiencing fluctuations. While the Hubble Telescope typically uses three gyros for optimal efficiency, it can still continue making scientific observations with only one gyro if required.

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been making groundbreaking observations that have deepened our understanding of the universe. With over 1.5 million observations and 20,000+ papers published on its discoveries, Hubble stands as the most productive science mission in NASA's history.

From tracking interstellar objects within our solar system to capturing galaxies merging over 13.4 billion light-years away, the Hubble Space Telescope has done it all. The telescope has also watched comets collide with Jupiter, discovered moons around Pluto, studied planetary atmospheres beyond our solar system, and more. In effect, the Hubble Space Telescope has proved itself as the most important instrument in the field of Space exploration.

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First Published Date: 01 Dec, 09:39 IST
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