It was only a matter of time before one of the most critical observation instruments that have allowed us to know the Universe better began to give signs of “fatigue.” The Hubble Space Telescope, after more than 28 years orbiting the Earth, is starting to fail, as predicted. For the moment, NASA has left it out of circulation, since one of the gyroscopes stopped working last Friday, so aiming at any space object is more now difficult.
NASA astronomers were already aware that one of the gyroscopes would stop working this year, so it’s not surprising for them. It was even stranger that one of the reserve gyros stopped operating last Saturday as well, so the team is now in safe mode and the observations have been suspended until further notice.
This is not the first time that Hubble’s gyroscopes have failed, as they were always problematic and all six of them had to be replaced in 2009. Now, half of Hubble’s gyroscopes are unusable, so pointing in a particular direction is very difficult and inaccurate. This is certainly a serious problem for astronomers, as any slight variation could ruin the research and the validity of the data collected.
Hubble Space Telescope might not work properly ever again, but James Webb Telescope will replace it, soon
However, if we look back, we must say that since it launched into orbit in 1990, at 500 kilometres above the surface of the Earth, it has made almost one and a half million observations and has located three quarters of the exoplanets we know today, amounting to about 4000. We have to admit that this is the most successful project NASA came up with.
In addition to all that, the Hubble Space Telescope has not only observed exoplanets. It has also found countless galaxies, stars, and black holes. In other words, it has been the most critical asset that helped scientists take a better look at the Universe that, thanks to Hubble, is a little less unknown today.
Now, NASA will try to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, although it will not be an easy task, as it could get worse if it is not done well. So, at the moment, since it does not have three fully functional gyroscopes to operate, the device is still in a standby state until the US space agency’s engineers decide what to do with it. However, James Webb Telescope would replace Hubble soon and will continue the mission of the renowned telescope.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.