Hubble receives its first new image from its pristine but vulnerable roof

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — NASA canceled nearly 20 launches Wednesday because of the partial government shutdown, but Hubble got off to a safer start when the telescope received its first new image in a year from the Hubble Space Telescope, in a typical dark and cloudy sky.

It’s the telescope’s 31st year in space. Astronauts who’ve used its 26 other refurbished and upgraded eyes, including to spot asteroids and other space rocks, are on Earth.

In addition to its gaze skyward, Hubble is undergoing final checks of its main and twin science-processing rooms and an instrument that studies gases in space. Astronauts who’ve sat in those seats would have trouble operating such a complex piece of equipment.

The telescope normally operates on a monthly schedule of 1½ days of science observations and four days of maintenance, NASA said. It’s been in safe mode twice and shut down twice before the longest such shutdown since the 1990s.

Read more at The New York Times.


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