Spacecraft Galileo Working Again
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The spacecraft Galileo was back up and functioning on Thursday after NASA controllers restored a computer subsystem that turned itself off while passing Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
Project engineers on Wednesday night successfully restarted the command and data subsystem _ a network of three computers and other hardware _ and were trying to restore the system’s ability to process scientific data.
NASA said it could take up to a week for the spacecraft to resume sending new science data back to Earth. Currently, it is sending telemetry such as Galileo’s position.
The subsystem went into ``safe mode″ on Monday during a pass within 1,141 miles of Europa’s surface. As a result, the spacecraft lost all data collected from its fifth near-pass of Europa on Galileo’s two-year extended mission, which targets the moon where scientists suspect there is a hidden ocean that could harbor life.
A backup system remained in operation but sent only basic data.
Jim Erickson, the project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said project engineers believe the problem was triggered when debris short-circuited a signal line, causing computer resets.
The Galileo Europa Mission is scheduled to make three more near-passes of Europa, the next one on Sept. 26.