Hubble back to full science operations

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The Hubble Space Telescope is now fully operating with all four active instruments collecting science, according to NASA.

The joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency, Hubble team on Monday recovered the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. The team has still not detected any further synchronisation message issues since monitoring began November 1, the US space agency said in a statement.

On October 23, the science instruments on Hubble Space Telescope issued error codes unexpectedly, indicating the loss of a specific synchronisation message. As a result, the science instruments entered a safe mode configuration on October 25, while NASA continued investigating.

In November, the Hubble team successfully recovered the Advanced Camera for Surveys instrument and started taking science observations once again, after facing the glitch.

“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,” NASA said.

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, it added.

Hubble has been operating now for over 31 years, collecting ground-breaking science observations that have changed our fundamental understanding of the universe.

Launched in 1990, the telescope has contributed to some of the most significant discoveries of our cosmos, including the accelerating expansion of the universe, the evolution of galaxies over time, and the first atmospheric studies of planets beyond our solar system.

Its mission was to spend at least 15 years probing the farthest and faintest reaches of the cosmos, and it continues to far exceed this goal.

Hubble will soon be joined in space by another powerful telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

“With the launch of the Webb Telescope planned for later this month, NASA expects the two observatories will work together well into this decade, expanding our knowledge of the cosmos even further,” NASA said.

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