Scientists use Hubble images to map dark matter in the most distant parts of our universe.

Hubble telescope back to work after gyroscope failure, NASA says

NASA said the Hubble Space Telescope has returned to normal operations after issues with a gyroscope knocked the device into safe mode.          

The telescope completed its first observations Saturday, capturing information on a distant, star-forming galaxy, the agency said.

IN SPACE: (FILE PHOTO) In this handout from the National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA), the Hubble Space Telescope drifts through space in a picture taken from the Space Shuttle Discovery during Hubble’s second servicing mission in 1997. NASA annouced October 31, 2006 that hte space agency would send a space shuttle to the Hubble Telescope for a fifth repair mission no earlier than May of 2008. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 72314018 GTY ID: 14018NA004_hubble

On Oct. 5, Hubble was pushed into safe mode after one of its gyroscopes stopped working. The gyroscopes allow Hubble to turn and lock on to new targets to observe.          

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NASA was able  to get a backup gyroscope on the telescope running after it initially was returning very high rotation rates. Safeguards have been put in place in case it returns to those higher rates, but it's not likely, said the agency.

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Over the last several days, engineers performed a series of maneuvers and collected data to make sure the telescope could properly rotate in the sky and pinpoint targets.          

Hubble launched in April 1990, becoming the first major optical telescope placed in space. Over the past 28 years, Hubble has streamed back key data on subjects such as dark matter and how planets form.           

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter:  @brettmolina23.             

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