Hubble Space Telescope Achieves Milestone in 31 Years of Operation

The Hubble Space Telescope has reached a remarkable milestone, having now been operating for over a billion seconds. The telescope was deployed from Space Shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990 and has been operational for over 31 years.

“On January 1, 2022, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope officially crossed the billion-second mark,” NASA wrote in a recent update. “Hubble’s first billion seconds included five astronaut maintenance missions to replace and repair telescope components, and over 1.5 million scientific observations and counting! We can only imagine the discoveries the next billion seconds will bring, as new telescopes like the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope and the future Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope build on Hubble’s discoveries and work with Hubble to expand. our understanding of the universe. “

The Hubble Space Telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope. Nasa

Hubble has had a few issues recently as it had to cease science operations twice in 2021 to deal with issues. The first was an issue with its computer hardware that was resolved by switching to backup hardware – luckily Hubble backs up almost all of its hardware so they can be used if something goes wrong with the main systems. The second issue involved a timing issue between the scientific instruments and the computer that put the telescope into safe mode. The Hubble team managed to relight the instruments one by one and have not seen any similar issues since.

Hubble made vital scientific observations during his tenure and continues to produce beautiful images and important data. However, this is also aging material and will not last forever. The recent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope marks the start of a new era, with this observatory acting as Hubble’s successor. But James Webb primarily operates in the infrared wavelength, unlike Hubble which primarily operates in the visual light wavelength.

So, for now at least, Hubble will continue to work to collect some great images of space for research purposes and for the enjoyment of the public.

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