Thirty years ago Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the shuttle Discovery with a famously flawed mirror, the opening chapter in an improbable saga of redemption and scientific discovery that revolutionized humanity’s view of the cosmos with jaw-dropping images now familiar to millions.
The most-used instrument on the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after engineers on the ground determined a fault that halted the camera’s science observations earlier this month was caused by erroneous telemetry data, and was not a symptom of a hardware failure as initially suspected.
The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could complicate efforts to troubleshoot a suspected hardware problem with the Hubble Space Telescope’s premier science instrument, but officials are optimistic the camera will eventually be restored to operations, the head of the observatory’s science operations team said Wednesday.
NASA has suspended science operations with the Hubble Space Telescope and put the observatory into protective “safe mode” while engineers troubleshoot problems with one of the spacecraft’s three remaining gyroscopes, used to help aim the telescope and keep it locked on target, officials said Monday.
On Aug. 17, gravity waves rippled through the solar system, slightly squeezing and stretching the space Earth occupies, the result of a catastrophic collision of two compact-but-massive neutron stars, producing a so-called “kilonova” explosion that seeded the local environment with a flood of heavy elements ranging from gold and platinum to uranium and beyond, scientists said Monday.