Hubble is in safe mode. Science operations suspended

Hubble space telescope fails and goes into'safe mode

The Hubble space telescope has watched the skies for nearly 30 years

According to NASA, the gyro that failed last week had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior for about a year, and its failure was not unexpected.

But don't panic: while the telescope needs three gyroscopes for "optimal efficiency", it can operate with less, Space.com reported. The spacecraft has a half dozen gyroscopes built in, and they were recently replaced during a servicing mission back in 2009.

Even with one gyro working, Hubble will still be able to take part in science, NASA confirmed.

Scientists are now performing analyses and tests to determine what options are available to recover the gyro to operational performance.

The telescope could work with as few as one or two gyroscopes, although that leaves little room for additional breakdowns.

DC, USA - The Hubble space telescope, which has been in orbit since 1990, has temporarily suspended operations because of a gyroscope failure, the US space agency said Monday, October 8.

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She explained that there are plans in place to deal with the eventuality of the HST dropping down to a one-gyro mode when two remained. Experts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are analyzing the situation and conducting tests to find out whether the third gyro can be recovered.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been sidelined by a serious pointing problem. "Which the Astro community wants desperately", Osten tweeted.

NASA was quick to offer reassurance: "Hubble's instruments still are fully operational and are expected to produce excellent science for years to come", public affairs officer Felicia Chou wrote in an update on the NASA website.

Astronomers are anxiously awaiting the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for 2021, but until then Hubble remains the most powerful space telescope in the sky - and the best tool for peering deep into space.

While NASA says that reduced-gyro mode would have "relatively limited impact on the overall scientific capabilities", some astronomers are concerned that the reduced-gyro mode could adversely affect some types of observations, such as of solar system objects, that require the precision of three-gyro operations.

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