Hubble Telescope Stops Collecting Data After Mechanical Fault
Hubble Telescope Stops Collecting Data After Mechanical Fault
There’s something wrong with the Hubble Space Telescope
Mike Wehner @MikeWehner
09 October, 2018, 18:34
The telescope is now operating on two of these enhanced gyros.
The news came as a shock to the fans of the venerable space telescope, which has sent down jaw-dropping images and data to address cosmic conundrums ranging from planetary origins to the age of the universe.
IN SPACE - MAY 13: In this handout from NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope is grappled to Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-125 by the shuttle's Canadian-built remote manipulator system May 13, 2009 in Space.
The gyro that failed is one of three in service keeping the telescope aimed and steady, NASA said, and it had been "exhibiting end-of-life behavior for approximately a year" so "its failure was not unexpected". Engineers were forced to suspend the telescopes' scientific activities over the weekend after one of its gyroscope's failed.
On Monday, NASA tweeted: "The Hubble team is working to resume science after Hubble entered safe mode due to 1 of 3 gyros failing". Experts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are analyzing the situation and conducting tests to find out whether the third gyro can be recovered.
"There isn't much difference between 2- [gyros] and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time", tweeted Rachel Osten, the deputy mission head for Hubble at the Space Telescope Science Institute, late October 7.
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'Not really scary, we knew it was coming.
'There isn't much difference between 2- and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time.
If this is not possible, then the agency will begin operating the telescope using a single gyroscope with the other working gyroscope held in reserve to preserve the overall lifetime of the telescope. The newly failed gyro is the last of that old design, and it lasted about six months longer than expected.
Update for 12:50 p.m. PT Oct. 8: We've added NASA's statement on the gyro issue. The Hubble Space Telescope floats against the background of Earth after a week of fix and upgrade by Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts in 2002.
The instrument, named after astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble, has been celebrated for its involvement in tracking asteroids, analysing the Kuiper Belt and documenting the nebula of dying stars. That way, Hubble has a longer total lifespan.
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