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Hubble's Camera Shuts Down After Hardware Problem

The Hubble Telescope in orbit. Photo: NASA
The Hubble Telescope in orbit. Photo: NASA

A camera on the Hubble Space Telescope has shut down.

NASA said the wide-view camera on the space-based telescope stopped working due to a hardware issue earlier this week.

The camera, which was installed during a 2009 servicing mission, has taken images of distant stars and galaxies, Astronomers used the camera to discover of the tiny moons of Pluto.

Three other instruments on the telescope are working fine, and the space agency says the busted camera has backup electronics that can help fix the problem.

This is the first time the camera has acted up like this, said Cheryl Gundy, a spokeswoman with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which handle science operations for the telescope.

"NASA is trying to pull together the team to try to diagnose the issue," Gundy said Wednesday.

"We would like to have Hubble back up and working as quickly as possible, and NASA is making that happen," even with the partial government shutdown, she added.

Last year, the telescope went offline for a short period of time due to a navigation issue.

The telescope launched from Kennedy Space Center back in 1990.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."