Houston We Have a Problem – New Glitch Plagues Hubble Space Telescope

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It’s provided us with tons of epic shots from outer space for years.

But the Hubble Space Telescope is not without its problems and a glitch occurring on February 28th has NASA’s best working round the clock to try and solve it.

photo by brian mcgowan
Photo by Brian McGowan

Apparently, a routine computer procedure triggered a glitch that caused the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys to go dark according to Space.com.

The engineers working on the project wrote: “The error indicated that software inside the camera had not loaded correctly…This team is currently working to identify the root cause and then to construct a recovery plan.”

The Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys is a visible-light instrument that takes some of the more recent epic photos the mission is credited with over its long 29-year history. Installed in 2002, the device is a relatively new addition to the telescope.

And the telescope isn’t totally out of commission. Most of its other instruments still work, including the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, and the Wide-Field Camera 3.

This is also not the Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys first brush with technical issues. An electrical malfunction took it out of commission in 2007. A mission to repair the issue, among other things, last rendezvoused with the Hubble in 2009.

A joint effort by NASA and the European Space Agency, Hubble was launched in 1990 and originally was slated for a 15-year-long mission.

Having long sailed past that original expiration date, Hubble continues to provide the world with some of the best images from space ever taken.

Although this latest issue is just one in a string of malfunctions it is nonetheless a disheartening one for fans of the images taken by the device. Still, given the whole thing's age, it is a pretty impressive feat to have made it this long.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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