NASA's Hubble telescope main camera breaks and US shutdown might delay repair
Washington, Jan 10: NASA's Hubble scope said that one of the cameras of the almost 30-year-old space telescope - the Wide Field Camera 3 - is no longer operational because of a hardware problem. This third incarnation of the camera was installed by spacewalking shuttle astronauts in 2009. NASA says the camera has backup electronics that could be called into action, if necessary.
Reports suggest that fixing the fault might be made more difficult by the ongoing US government shutdown, because some of the key governmental employees who will be needed to troubleshoot the problem are currently forbidden from working.
Although the Hubble Space Telescope has been observing the sky since 1990, the WFC3 was added just 10 years ago during a service mission. Over the last decade it has captured spectacular images, including a high-resolution version of the iconic 'Pillars of Creation' - a gas cloud inside the Eagle Nebula that was first imaged by Hubble back in 1995.
Hubble's second camera, the Advanced Camera for Surveys, is also capable of generating impressive images. Earlier this week, for instance, researchers published an image with an astonishing 665 million pixels showing the Triangulum Galaxy. It was captured using the Advanced Camera for Surveys.