Long live Hubble, at least until its replacement, James Webb, is ready to orbit. NASA’s veteran space telescope, which has far exceeded its useful life, is reluctant to stop working, but its failures are becoming more frequent. Now has managed to recover of a timing problem that had forced him to enter “safe mode” and stop his investigation.
As explained from NASA in his web page, the four instruments that had been affected by the failure have been returned to “operational status“Consequently, the Hubble Space Telescope is in a position to continue exploring the universe by resuming the collection of scientific data, even if new timing problems are encountered in the future.
Hubble, an ancient observatory in space
What has happened to Hubble? The US space agency explains that on October 23 they detected synchronization failures in the telescope’s control unit. This internal communication problem continued for several days, forcing the team in charge of addressing it to put the telescope in “safe mode” while they reviewed the software configuration for a possible solution.
By November 16, NASA had already found a solution that consisted in changing the way in which the payload computer I was monitoring the instruments. This allowed them to deal with the problem of lost messages.
However, the agency had warned that the process of recovering the telescope could be delayed “several weeks”. And that is precisely what happened. After applying the software changes, the instruments gradually came to life to preserve the delicate hardware that has been in orbit for more than 31 years.
Throughout the process, culminated on December 7, the NASA team has not detected new synchronization problems. However, they will continue to work on new tests to ensure that the telescope remains operational even if new missing sync messages are detected in the future. For now, Hubble seems ready to continue giving us more amazing images of the universe.