After a problem brought the Hubble Space Telescope’s science equipment offline, engineers have restored them.
Astronomers can now resume gathering data for the first time since the Hubble telescope malfunctioned on June 13th. Engineers began moving to backup hardware last week in an attempt to resurrect one of history’s most important research instruments.
“Hubble is a legend,” Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said. “Hubble has given us extraordinary insight into the cosmos over the last three decades.” “I’m proud of this crew, from present members to Hubble alumni who stepped in to help. Hubble will continue to expand on its 31-year legacy, broadening our horizons with its vision of the Universe, thanks to their dedication and thoughtful work.”
It came to a standstill on June 13, forcing the instruments to go into “safe mode,” which shuts down all non-essential functions. Nasa reported last week that it had found a likely source of the problem and would move to backup hardware. The science instruments were returned to working status over the weekend after the transfer was completed on Friday.
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The majority of the observations that were lost while science operations were halted will be rescheduled at a later time. Hubble, which was launched in 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery, has collected over 1.5 million observations about the Universe. Approximately 18,000 scientific publications have been published using them.
It has aided key astronomical discoveries, such as the discovery that the measured expansion of the Universe is accelerating. This led to the conclusion that dark energy, a mysterious “stuff,” made up the majority of the cosmos. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Hubble’s replacement, is set to launch later this year. Many astronomers, though, believe that the two will be able to work together – at least for the time being.
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