NASA plans to fix Hubble and its 47-year-old computer

NASA plans to fix Hubble and its 47-year-old computer

A week ago Tragedy struck: Hubble entered safe mode due to an internal computer problem. The space telescope that gave us some of the most important astronomical discoveries in history abruptly ceased to function. According to the theory, NASA has a plan to get it back.


Space Telescope Payload Computer Operated June 13 It automatically entered safe mode. This means that in theory the telescope is still working but will not turn on or work until the computer fixes it. This is an automatic precautionary measure to prevent further damage.

About a month later, Hubble still shows no signs of life. Until now, NASA has been trying to restart it or replace it with a Hubble replacement computer. Hubble has two similar computers, the first of which fails and the second is installed separately. It failed, but there was no way to start the second one.

Decades-old technology in space

Hubble presents two major difficulties and its repair Age and distance of components. We are talking about a computer that was created 47 years ago in 1974. Surprisingly, this does not mean that it has stopped working, but that it is still operational and is located on the most important telescope in the world.

Hubble, on the other hand, has the problem of not being a mountain telescope or an earthly desert, A telescope orbiting the Earth in space. The solution is to repair it remotely, and finally send astronauts to do it in person or replace parts. But we have no ships to do this because NASA’s spacecraft has stopped working.

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So what’s the plan? According to NASA announced, VAttempt to turn on backup command unit / scientific data format (CU / SDF) From Hubble. This component is responsible for sending and formatting commands and data on the telescope, which in principle helps to activate the computer’s backup memory, which in principle replaces the memory believed to be faulty.

Last week, NASA said they were testing simulations on the ground to see if the procedure was practical. Hopefully, this will work as the experiment went as expected. If all goes well, The change to Hubble could take effect next week after all test procedures have been completed Appendix. In other words, risk assessments and detailed procedures will be performed before touching anything on the Hubble, which will only be possible if the fault occurs and the entire telescope is destroyed.

Hubble At the same time it will remain in safe mode and without scientific observations. For more than four decades Made us happy Stunning pictures and performance The most important observations in the history of astronomy. If true, it is expected to be useful by 2040, however it will come much earlier.James Webb, Its replacement, into space.

Way | NASA

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