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The Hubble Telescope Is Back Online, but It’s Not Out of the Woods Yet

The Hubble Space Telescope in orbit over Earth. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Vadim Sadovski

After spending several weeks offline in safe mode, the Hubble Space Telescope was finally brought back online. NASA shared the tremendous update in a Twitter post. After spending the past month troubleshooting the issue, NASA has determined that the Power Control Unit (PCU) was to blame.

Originally, NASA thought the shutdown was caused by an aging memory module but was recently able to figure out the actual cause. The PCU is what continuously powers the telescope’s payload computer. The catch is that if the constant 5V flow fluctuates or falters even for a moment, the telescope automatically pauses its operations, which is what happened in this situation.

NASA’s team made multiple attempts to reset and otherwise troubleshoot the PCU, all to no success. At that point, NASA decided to formally switch to the telescope’s backup hardware. Although that’s a desperate measure to take, it seems to have done the trick!

In a recent press release, NASA stated that its team is now working to recover the scientific instruments on the telescope, which were also stored in safe mode. That will take several hours. Once the instruments reach stable operating temperatures and can be properly calibrated by NASA’s team, then Hubble will resume normal activity.

The 31-year-old telescope has been working hard for decades to help us further explore and understand our universe. Hopefully, its successor, the James Webb Telescope, will remain on track for its launch later this year; the two together will help us gather even more information about space at large, take even more stellar photos, and lessen the burden on the aging Hubble.

via Gizmodo

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries was a Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over seven years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »