An artist’s impression of the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. Image: European Space Agency
Engineers troubleshooting a fault with the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the Hubble Space Telescope say the problem could be a hardware issue or a software glitch of some sort. If the former, the camera could be switched over to a redundant set of electronics and resume normal operations. If the latter, engineers may be able to reset the software, clearing the error and, again, resuming normal operations and observations.
Either way, engineers with NASA and the camera’s builder, Ball Aerospace, are confident they can restore the instrument to good health.
“We’re going to do a few more tests the next couple of days,” Thomas Brown, head of the Hubble Space Telescope mission office at the Space Telescope Science Institute. “There’s no rush because there’s plenty of other science with the other three instruments. So there’s no reason to rush. The first goal here is to do no harm.”
If the problem is software related, “we would power cycle it, clear the error and see if it comes back up,” Brown said. “If it does then we’re good. If it looks like there’s still a problem, ...