The Hubble Space Telescope's main camera has been resuscitated after shutting itself down more than two weeks ago. Programme managers say it should resume normal science observations in another week or two.
Hubble's most frequently used instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), uses three "channels" that each act as a camera. All three shut down
on 23 September when managers tried to switch power from the Solar Blind Channel to the High Resolution Channel (HRC). A mechanical relay, or switch, flips back and forth to send power to either of the channels.
Managers suspected the switch did actually move as planned but that a piece of fibre or dust was in the way, blocking the electrical contact in the circuit. So on Monday at 1755 EDT (2155 GMT), they flipped the switch back and forth to try to dislodge the debris.
They received confirmation that the fix had worked at 0540 EDT (0940 GMT) on Tuesday, when the ACS's full voltage was detected and the HRC channel in particular showed vital signs again.
"I'm really happy to say that it was as good an outcome as it possibly could have been," says David Leckrone, senior project scientist for Hubble at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US. "It kind of vindicates the leading theory about what the problem was."