Hold the phone, people, the Hubble is still broken. There was word early Thursday morning that a Monkey Island-era 486 backup computer was going to take the reigns and begin mission critical operations, but a day later NASA scientists revealed the dusty old thing was better suited for minesweeper than capturing awe-inspiring deep field images of the observable universe.
The 486 was activated Thursday, and that went well, NASA scientists said. It was everything else on board the aging space telescope that pooped the bed, unfortunately.
When the 486 fired up, a low-voltage power supply issue sidelined one of Hubble's cameras, and prevented it from rebooting properly. Not good. After that, further unidentified "computer trouble" hit Hubble hard, and ended all recovery efforts instantly. Now NASA is tasked with going through piles of data beamed back from Hubble since the malfunction on Friday to find a cure.
Today the best case scenario for Hubble is that engineers get it up and running late next week, said Art Whipple, a Hubble manager. The worst case scenario is Hubble has to wait for human hands to arrive next year as part of a shuttle mission. And fixing the telescope with astronauts is no joke. As we noted in September when this mess first started, fixing Hubble by hand is more risky that you could possibly imagine. Unless you're an astronaut, of course. [MSNBC]