Emma D’Agostino/Space Telescope Science Institute
A bevy of terabytes worth of information has been lost on NASA’s most famous telescope after a failure to adapt its settings to a new software upgrade.
The US space agency noticed on 25 November that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was stuck in safe mode after the reboot of its software did not help restore proper configuration.
The reboot was part of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit – the computer device that powers Hubble’s propulsion system and navigates its way around its 15 missions.
Astronomers may be disappointed, but given that it’s the newest increment of software, some of Hubble’s capabilities may still be there even if it’s hard to see them.
NASA provided further detail about the reboot failure on the website of its Goddard Space Flight Center. It explained that “the software shipped with the previous version of NASA’s Hubble Data System 2 that installed with Hubble HD NameServo on board has become obsolete after 20 years of operation.
As a result, the upgrades would be a significant change to the Hubble’s software to ensure they would stay compatible with each other.”
The Hubble telescope mission, whose first anniversary fell on November 25, marks the 20th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s October 1990 liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to Hubble.