Kaput: Hubble's main camera stops working

10:07am, January 31, 2007

The sharpest, most sensitive camera on the aging Hubble Space Telescope has stopped working, and its most impressive capability can't be revived, NASA announced this week.

The problem began on Jan. 27, when the orbiting observatory abruptly went into "safe mode," turning off its nonessential detectors, including several in the telescope's showcase instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). An investigation revealed a short in circuitry powering the camera.

The glitch doomed the ACS' two exquisitely sensitive visible-light detectors, which since last June had been powered by a backup electronics system after a power-supply malfunction (SN: 7/8/06, p. 19: Available to subscribers at

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