Hubble Space Telescope Goes Into Temporary “Hibernation”

Courtesy of NASA on

Matthew Chen, Staff Writer

The Hubble Space Telescope recently experienced a software glitch that caused the telescope to “hibernate.” The telescope, which has been in operation since 1990, is one of the largest and most renowned telescopes in the world. 

The “hibernation” was initiated by the central computer in the telescope, which detected a software anomaly and went into safe mode. The telescope then stopped recording data and restricted power supply to essential components. This is not the first time the telescope has faced this issue. In 2018, the telescope went into safe mode after an issue with its gyroscopes was detected. Its last direct hardware service was completed in 2009 by space shuttle astronauts. 

Engineers resolved the issue by sending a command to ignore the software error and the telescope was moved out of safe mode. However, it was also discovered that the primary motor failed to close the aperture door, which protects vital parts from heat damage. Luckily, scientists used the backup motor to fix the issue. 

“The most recent estimates say that there’s an excellent chance we’re going to be doing science like we do today until at least 2026,” says Tom Brown, head of the Hubble Space Telescope Mission office. Perhaps in the near future, the telescope’s aging hardware will need another repair.