Universe, we have a problem: The payload computer aboard the Hubble Telescope that has formed our understanding of the cosmos for over thirty years has stopped operating.
After the June thirteen malfunction, Hubble’s payload computer stopped receiving the “keep-alive” signal that is a “standard handshake between the payload and main space vehicle computers to indicate all is well,” in keeping with a NASA news release.
Following the main computer’s automatic shift of all science instruments to safe mode, control center personnel at NASA’s Goddard space Flight Center in greenbelt, Maryland, restarted the payload computer however it soon halted but on june 14. The telescope and alternative science instruments remain in good health, nasa reported.
The payload Computer — A independent agency standard spacecraft Computer-1, or NSSC-1, system in-built the 1980s — is an element of the Science Instrument Command and data Handling unit, a module on the hubble space Telescope that communicates commands to Hubble’s science instruments and formats data for transmission to the ground. the current unit may be a replacement that was put in by astronauts on shuttle mission STS-125 in might 2009 after the first unit unsuccessful in 2008, which delayed the final servicing mission to hubble whereas nasa computer the replacement.
The payload computer’s purpose is to manage and coordinate the science instruments on the telescope, and monitor their health and safety, according to nasa. The computer’s programs also analyze and manipulate the data it collects. the computer is critical, however there’s a second computer the operations team can switch to if problems arise.
Based on early data, the hubble operations team initially thought a degrading memory module halted the computer. when the failed restart and attempt to switch to a backup memory module, the team tried to realize additional info whereas once more trying to bring the memory modules online, which also fell flat.
After many tests of the computer’s memory modules, the investigators found that a different piece of computer hardware might have been the culprit behind the memory errors: The operations team has started exploring whether the matter lies within the standard Interface, or STINT, hardware — that facilitates which between the computer’s Central processing Module and other parts — or the CPM itself.
The operations team members are also planning tests they will soon run to pinpoint potential issues and a possible answer — which, for future reference, would be instrumental for figuring out which hardware remains working properly when something else is not.
If the problem is not fixed, the hubble operations team will be prepared to switch to the STINT and CPM hardware within the backup payload computer, NASA reported.
If the operations team members use plan B, they will then need several days to see how the backup computer performs and to resume the normal operations that the main payload computer is typically responsible. The backup hasn’t been used since its installation in 2009, NASA reportable, however it had been “thoroughly tested on the ground prior to installation on the spacecraft.”
Launched aboard hubble Discovery in 1990, the Edwin Hubble space Telescope has shared its observations of stars, galaxies and other astronomical objects “that have captured imaginations worldwide and deepened our information of the cosmos,” nasa reported.
That includes its role in narrowing down the universe’s age from the once calculable ten billion to twenty billion years previous to about 13.8 billion years, a number now used to understand the chronological development of stars, galaxies and more.