The storied space telescope that brought you stunning photos of the solar system and enriched our understanding of the cosmos over the past three decades is experiencing a technical glitch.
Scientists at NASA say the Hubble Space Telescope’s payload computer, which operates the spacecraft’s scientific instruments, went down suddenly on June 13. Without it, the instruments on board meant to snap pictures and collect data are not currently working.
Scientists have run a series of tests on the malfunctioning computer system but have yet to figure out what went wrong.
“It’s just the inefficiency of trying to fix something which is orbiting 400 miles over your head instead of in your laboratory,” Paul Hertz, the director of astrophysics for NASA, told NPR.
“If this computer were in the lab, we’d be hooking up monitors and testing the inputs and outputs all over the place, and would be really quick to diagnose it,” he said. “All we can do is send a command from our limited set of commands and then see what data comes out of the computer and then send that data down and try to analyze it.”