HomeScience & TechNasa brings Hubble Space Telescope back to life after months of glitches

Nasa brings Hubble Space Telescope back to life after months of glitches

The Hubble Space Telescope has been brought back online after its science instruments were taken offline for months due to a glitch.

The telescope is one of the largest and most versatile observatories human beings can access, capturing the stars in ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light. Over decades of use, it has captured some of the most astounding images of our universe ever seen.

In October, the telescope was forced to put its equipment into safe mode after Nasa discovered synchronisation issues between the internal spacecraft communications.

All four instruments are now operational, Nasa announced yesterday, with the team no longer detecting synchronisation issues.

“The team will continue work on developing and testing changes to instrument software that would allow them to conduct science operations even if they encounter several lost synchronisation messages in the future”, the Hubble team said in a statement.

“The first of these changes is scheduled to be installed on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph in mid-December. The other instruments will receive similar updates in the coming months.”

The Hubble Space Telescope has experienced a number of issues this year, including a degrading memory module in July that stopped its main computer from receiving a “keep-alive” signal that maintains the connection between the payload and the spacecraft’s computers.

There have been five space shuttle missions to repair and upgrade its systems over its lifetime, and is expected to last well into the next decade and possibly until 2040.

After 31 years in operation, the telescope is soon to be joined by the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched later this month. The new telescope will let scientists look back 150 million to 1 billion years after time began – something that has been previously inaccessible to them with Hubble.

Nasa says that the two observatories will work together over the next few years, “expanding our knowledge of the cosmos even further”.

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