The Space Telescope Science Institute's deputy mission head, Dr. Rachel Osten, said the first move "is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic". Staff at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are now performing analyses and tests to determine what options are available to recover the gyro to operational performance.
Responding to a claim that the safe mode was "scary news for the most famous telescope in history", Dr Osten downplayed the issues. "At any given time, Hubble needs three of its six gyroscopes operating to ensure optimal efficiency", NASA says.
The news came as a shock to the fans of the venerable space telescope, which has sent down jaw-dropping images and data to address cosmic conundrums ranging from planetary origins to the age of the universe.
Osten also noted that the team has had a "very stressful weekend" and that the Hubble is now "in safe mode while we figure out what to do".
Till then science operations with Hubble have been suspended. However, Hubble can operate in a limited capacity using a single gyroscope.
Spacewalking shuttle astronauts replaced all six in 2009. "If the outcome of this investigation results in recovery of the malfunctioning gyro, Hubble will resume science operations in its standard three-gyro configuration", the agency stated.
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"We'll work through the issues and be back", she promised.
'There isn't much difference between 2- and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time.
For now, Hubble's still the star of the show, so let's hope it can pull through.
Astronomers use the orbiting observatory to peer deep into the cosmos, revealing faraway solar systems as well as galaxies and black holes.
It is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889.
Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990 and helped publish more than 15,000 scientific papers. That way, Hubble has a longer total lifespan.