Technical fault strikes Hubble with government shutdown set to postpone repairs
Hubble is in trouble once again. One of the cameras on the aging space telescope has automatically suspended operations due to a fault. While Hubble will continue to scan the skies with its three remaining active cameras, NASA can't be sure when the telescope will be repaired, due to the ongoing US government shutdown.
The Wide Field Camera 3 suspended its operations on January 8, after encountering a hardware problem. This camera was first installed on Hubble in 2009 and over the years has been responsible for some of the telescope's most stunning snaps.
This is the second technical issue to befall Hubble in a matter of months. Back in October, one of the craft's gyroscopes failed, meaning it could no longer turn to look around. After a few weeks, NASA engineers managed to fix the problem by performing a series of maneuvers to shake loose a blockage in the thick fluid surrounding the instrument.
But the current problem might be compounded by external factors. NASA is currently running on a skeleton crew, since many staff are not allowed to work during the government shutdown, which has now entered its 19th day. According to Nature, the agency is currently investigating the technical problem to see if a solution can be reached with available staff.
Even if the Wide Field Camera 3 remains offline, Hubble's science operations will continue with its three remaining cameras.