On June 13, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope faced a serious issue regarding its payload computer. The computer was responsible for monitoring and organizing various functions of the telescope, and therefore all significant astronomical observations carried through the telescope halted.
NASA’s scientists have been doing tests and trials to solve the issue and get the Hubble back on its feet, but unfortunately, their attempts have gone fruitless. However, there’s still an inch of hope left after the telescope’s official Twitter account made an announcement.
The account reads, “NASA successfully completed a test of procedures that would be used to switch to backup hardware on Hubble in response to the payload computer problem, this switch could occur next week after further preparations after further preparations and reviews.”
It’s great news for the halted telescope; however, it does not imply that Hubble will continue its astronomical surveys of the mighty Universe.
While physically fixing the telescope is out of the question. The Hubble Telescope was serviced five times by NASA between 1993-2009 using the now-retired Space Shuttle, but its replacement has yet to be found by NASA so that astronomical operations could be taken care of.
Back in mid-June, after Hubble’s payload computer halted and ceased the interaction with the main computer as well as showed no response to its backup system, NASA started procedures to resolve the issue. After a few weeks of constant attempts, they found the telescope’s command unit and power supply to be the leading culprit.
“The only things we can try are things that can be commanded,” NASA astrophysics division director Paul Hertz told New Scientist, calling the switch “risky.”
NASA is now compelled to switch to components of the backup control units that had never been used in space before.
“You can’t actually put your hands on and change hardware or take a voltage, so that does make it very challenging,” Paul added.
Now, all we can do is pray and hope for Hubble to get back up as soon as possible and carry its surveys of our Universe.