There’s a buzzing noise in space. And it’s causing concern at NASA.
The space agency is investigating what’s happening with the Hubble Space Telescope, which had to go into safe mode on Sunday.
The activity started on Saturday evening and continued all day Sunday. The cause of the problem is unknown.
NASA says the spacecraft is “not in any real danger.”
It’s the second time Hubble had to go into safe mode in the past month.
Astronauts successfully fixed a problem with the telescope’s camera and replaced a gyroscope in mid-June.
The telescope was launched in 1990, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has revealed the universe is larger than scientists once thought.
“The images will have astounded us all,” NASA astronaut Sally Ride said after the HST’s launch in 1990. “And these images will show us an enormous amount about our universe that we don’t know yet.”
An observing campaign is underway to confirm whether Hubble has experienced the same glitch three times in less than two months.
But scientists are confident there are no major dangers.
“Our main concern is that with the way the way that Hubble controls itself, the circuit breaker on the electronics may have been shut off when things in communication went a little bit haywire, and we’ll hope to have it corrected by checking out the electronics, eliminating the possible shutdowns we had yesterday,” said senior Hubble scientist Charles Vick.
Hubble serves as an essential technology for many areas of space exploration.
The mission’s success in 2012 helped keep costs for NASA’s next space telescope program down.
NASA’s new Multi-Spectral Interpretation, Processing and Visualization Science or MSL mission aims to take cameras from Hubble and then develop something new for future space missions.
NASA astronauts will start some of the most serious work on Thursday. They will take a sample of dust from the Martian moon Phobos and map the surface.