Oops: NASA Admits That the Hubble Space Telescope Is Busted Again

Back into safe mode.

Safe Mode

Things are not looking good for NASA’s groundbreaking Hubble Space Telescope.

The orbital observatory has been put into safe mode yet again, according to a NASA update, and halting all science operations. Hubble’s science instruments encountered an issue on October 23, related to synchronizing instruments and the commands and data requests sent from Earth.

It’s yet another unfortunate predicament for the groundbreaking spacecraft, which has been in orbit in 1990, delivering some of the most magnificent views of our galaxy in human history.

A quick reset allowed scientists to resume science operations the next morning. But just two days later, the telescope’s instruments issued the same error again — multiple times.

Backup System

As a precaution, the telescope’s instruments entered safe mode state, as designed.

Now, Hubble scientists are poring over the data to figure out how to address the synchronization issue and how to get more data from the spacecraft. NASA says these that “these activities are expected to take at least one week.”

NASA also says that “the rest of the spacecraft is operating as expected.”

The news comes after the aging space telescope experienced some serious computer issues, forcing teams to switch to an on-board backup computer earlier this year.

In July, NASA announced some good news, revealing that the move was successful.

Hubble has been in orbit for 31 long years and has had to be serviced in person several times. The last time astronauts were able to visit the telescope for servicing was in 2009.

But that was on board NASA’s Space Shuttle, which has long been retired. Astronauts currently have no way to return to the telescope, making any software or hardware issues exceedingly difficult to address — and meaning that any new problem could potentially be fatal.

READ MORE: Hubble Remains in Safe Mode, NASA Team Investigating [NASA]

More on Hubble: Gaze in Awe at This Fiery Pac-Man Shaped Supernova, Gobbling Stars

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