Ageing NASA Hubble Area Telescope hustles to outlive newest tech glitch


The NASA/ESA Hubble Area Telescope throughout deployment in 1990.

NASA/Smithsonian Establishment/Lockheed

The Hubble Area Telescope has spent over three many years scanning the cosmos, bringing us wonderful pictures and knowledge from our universe. The spacecraft is displaying its age. The Hubble staff is now troubleshooting an issue with the telescope’s payload laptop — a chunk of {hardware} constructed within the Nineteen Eighties — that controls its science devices.

The pc situation cropped up on Sunday. “After analyzing the information, the Hubble operations staff is investigating whether or not a degrading reminiscence module led to the pc halt,” NASA mentioned in a press release on Wednesday. Hubble is a joint venture from NASA and the European Area Company.

“After the halt occurred on Sunday, the primary laptop stopped receiving a ‘hold alive’ sign, which is a normal handshake between the payload and principal spacecraft computer systems to point all is nicely,” NASA mentioned. “The primary laptop then mechanically positioned all science devices in a protected mode configuration.”

The Hubble staff already tried restarting the payload laptop, however encountered the identical glitch once more. The staff will attempt switching over to a backup module right now. If that goes nicely, the pc will run for a day to test that it is working after which the telescope will get a reboot of its science devices to return it to service.  

The telescope has weathered a sequence of technical glitches in recent times. A software program error despatched it into protected mode for a number of days in March.

Hubble has been remarkably resilient as scientists anticipate the much-delayed next-generation James Webb Area Telescope to launch, hopefully later this 12 months. James Webb will proceed to increase on Hubble’s legacy. 

If previous efforts are any indication, Hubble is more likely to persevere previous this newest drawback and resume its helpful science operations.

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