The Hubble Space Telescope has been put out of action by a gyroscope problem.
Nasa announced Monday that one of Hubble’s gyroscopes failed last Friday.
As a result, the telescope is in so-called safe mode with non-essential systems turned off. That means all science observations are on hold.
Rachel Osten, Hubble’s deputy mission head at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said: “It’s true. Very stressful weekend. Right now HST is in safe mode while we figure out what to do.
“Another gyro failed. First step is try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic. We’ll work through the issues and be back.”
Nasa said mission controllers are working to restore the 28-year-old telescope.
In a statement the space agency said: “Mission experts are taking steps to return Hubble to great science.”
Gyroscopes are needed to keep Hubble pointed in the right direction during observations.
Astronomers use the orbiting observatory to peer deep into the cosmos, revealing faraway solar systems as well as galaxies and black holes.
Launched in 1990, Hubble has had trouble with its gyroscopes before.
Spacewalking shuttle astronauts replaced all six in 2009.
The telescope could work with as few as one or two gyroscopes, although that leaves little room for additional breakdowns.
The problem with Hubble comes after Nasa’s Opportunity Mars rover went silent on June 10 following a dust storm on the red planet.
Source: The Telegraph