(CNN)One of the premier cameras on the Hubble Space Telescope is no longer working and NASA shut down the camera while the issue is investigated, NASA said on Tuesday.
The Wide Field Camera 3, or WFC3, which was installed in 2009, reported an error on Tuesday and its operations were suspended. The camera helps scientists study a range of objects, from distant galaxies to nearby star systems.
“Hubble will continue to perform science observations with its other three active instruments, while the Wide Field Camera 3 anomaly is investigated,” reads a statement from NASA.
Tom Brown, the Hubble mission head at the Space Telescope Science Institute, said teams are busy troubleshooting the issue and a reboot to the system might be an option as a fix.
“Eventually electronics break,” said Brown. “That’s why redundant systems are installed.”
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, took to Twitter to share an update:
“This is when everyone gets a reminder about two crucial aspects of space exploration: 1) complex systems like @NASAHubble only work due to a dedicated team of amazing experts; 2) all space systems have finite life-times and such issues are bound to happen from time to time.”
Brown said he is confident the issue will be resolved in the next week or two.
“If a reboot doesn’t work, there are redundant systems we can switch instruments over to,” Brown said. “But we are still figuring out what the right path forward is.”
He also mentioned that the government shutdown is not affecting the repairs.
“The flight operations folks are considered essential and we’ve been in talks on repairs,” Brown said. “Primary experts are troubleshooting this right now.”
The WFC3 is out of commission for now but the other three instruments (Advanced Camera for Surveys, the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph) on the Hubble are working.
“In the meantime, the Hubble is operating on its three instruments,” Brown said. “They are getting plenty of science on those.”
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