WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope suffered a major computer failure in June.
- NASA finally solved the issue last week, and the telescope has started doing science again.
- The agency has since released its first new images, which feature galaxies.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope had been fully restored after a major computer failure.
The telescope suffered a major computer failure in June after observing the cosmos for more than 30 years.
On June 13, Hubble’s payload computer stopped communicating with the main computer, causing the telescope to drop into safe mode. Hubble could not continue functioning because of this issue. At first, the team tried to change the payload computer’s memory module, which has three spare emergency cases. However, the trick didn’t work.
Last week, NASA finally pinpointed the real issue, which was the Power Control Unit (PCU) that lives with the payload computer on the Command & Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit. Several experts, including retired Hubble engineers, worked together to fix the issue. Late last week, Hubble became operational again.
The malfunctioning SI C&DH was not the one used to launch Hubble in 1990. The original SI C&DH that launched with Hubble also suffered the same failure in 2008, and NASA had to switch to the backup hardware. It was replaced in 2009 during the telescope’s last servicing mission.
Hubble remains the only general-purpose space observatory until the James Webb Space Telescope launches, that is why all hands were on deck to get Hubble back to work.
NASA released some of the first new images from Hubble to show that it is operating normally again.
The images were of ARP-MADORE2115-273, which shows two galaxies in the process of merging, and ARP-MADORE0002-503, a single spiral galaxy with three arms. It’s unusual for spiral galaxies to have an odd number of arms.
The images are from a program headed by Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington.
At this time, there are no color versions available of the new image.
Source: Extreme Tech