One of marquee space telescopes of NASA won’t be out of service for much duration. The Chandra X-ray Observatory had entered a protective safe mode on October 10 as one of its orientation-upholding gyroscopes broke down, as earlier announced by NASA officials.
That malfunction caused the probe to collect bad data of 3 Seconds, perplexing the aboard flight computer. With the issue recognized, a mend is just around the corner.
In its latest update, NASA officials said, “The team has accomplished plans to toggle gyroscopes and keep aside the gyroscope that had a problem. Once constituted with a sequence of pre-tested flight software patches, Chandra will return to conduct science operations that are anticipated to begin by next week.”
Its actual 5-year lifespan has been far outlasted by Chandra; the scope has been looking at the universe since 1999 in high-energy X-ray light. Chandra has made several significant inputs during its almost 2 Decades of existence—assisting astronomers to recognize a new category of “intermediate-mass” black holes, for instance, and picturing the shock waves originating from supernova blasts.
Chandra is a piece of Great Observatories Program of NASA that from 1990 to 2003 has launched 4 potent space telescopes: in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope; in 1991, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO); and in 2003, the Spitzer Space Telescope.
In 2000, CGRO was deorbited deliberately after a gyroscope breakdown. At present, Hubble is in safe mode with gyroscope problem of its own, although the agency has expressed buoyancy that the iconic telescope will be soon back online.
On the other end, NASA researchers are yet to listen from the Mars Opportunity Rover that has been still since a dust tempest enwrapped the Red Planet. As per NASA, it’s likely that a dust layer deposited on the solar panels of the rover owing to the dust tempest is obstructing sunlight that could revive its batteries.