Technical glitch hobbles Hubble Space Telescope
The telescope, which travels the Earth at about five miles per second -- equivalent to driving from America's East to West Coast in just 10 minutes -- faces out to space to take pictures of planets, stars and galaxies to help scientists learn about the solar system.
But it has been in "safe mode" since Friday after one of the three gyroscopes used to aim and steady the telescope failed.
"Science operations with Hubble have been suspended while NASA investigates the anomaly," a statement from the space agency said.
Named after astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, the foremost American astronomer of the 20th century, the sophisticated optical observatory was placed into orbit about 600 kilometers (370 miles) above Earth by the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990.
This is not the first time such a fault has occurred. A series of space missions were needed to repair technical problems -- affecting the gyroscopes among other things -- since Hubble's launch in 1990.
Three space shuttle missions in 1997, 1999, and 2002 repaired the gyroscopes and added new instruments including a near-infrared spectrometer and a wide-field camera. In 2009. six new gyros were installed -- three are used for maximum efficiency and three for backup. Two of the backup gyros had already failed since 2009.
The current fault had been anticipated because the gyroscope had been "exhibiting end-of-life behavior for approximately a year," according to NASA.
Though the telescope is temporarily out of action, NASA is confident it will soon be back on track. The remaining three gyros available for use are technically enhanced and therefore expected to have significantly longer operational lives.
On Monday, NASA tweeted: "The Hubble team is working to resume science after Hubble entered safe mode due to 1 of 3 gyros failing. Analysis and testing on the backup gyro are ongoing to determine why it is not performing as expected.
A 2009 servicing mission installed six new gyroscopes, according to NASA. Ideally, Hubble would use three of them simultaneously "for maximum efficiency," but it can continue making observations with one, the agency said in another tweet.
In 2020 NASA will launch Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, a more powerful instrument that will offer astronomers unprecedented views of the cosmos.
Ready-to-eat ham recalled amid deadly listeria outbreak
The recall was announced after health officials linked an outbreak of listeriosis to ham products produced at Johnston County Hams, according to the service.
The agency was notified last month of a patient who had reported consuming products from the company before getting sick.
"The epidemiologic investigation identified a total of four listeriosis confirmed illnesses, including one death, between July 8, 2017 and August 11, 2018," the recall announcement said.
The agency collected two product samples from the Johnston County Hams North Carolina facility in 2016 and in 2018. Both samples were genetically related to samples of listeria from the outbreak patients.
The illnesses were reported in North Carolina and Virginia. All of the patients were hospitalized, and the death was reported in Virginia, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
Health officials in those states are working with their federal counterparts to determine whether there are additional cases linked to the outbreak. Anyone who has gotten ill after consuming recalled ham should notify a health care provider.
Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance. Patients may experience diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, followed by convulsions.
Listeria bacteria are especially concerning in pregnant women because they can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or a life-threatening infection in a newborn. Others at risk for listeria infection are the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems.
The recalled products were produced between April 3, 2017, and October 2, 2018, and shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service. They have the establishment number "EST. M2646" inside the USDA inspection mark on the packaging.
They include Johnston County Hams Inc. country style fully cooked boneless deli ham; The Old Dominion brand ole fashioned sugar-cured premium full cooked country ham with sell by dates from April 10, 2018, to September 27, 2019; Padow's Hams & Deli Inc. fully cooked country ham boneless glazed with brown sugar; premium fully cooked country ham with less salt distributed by Valley Country Hams LLC with sell-by dates from April 10, 2018, to September 27, 2019; and Goodnight Brothers Country Ham boneless fully cooked. All of these recalled products are plastic-wrapped and at weights of 7 to 8 pounds.
Callie's Charleston Biscuits LLC is recalling two of its products with ham that is part of the larger recall: country ham biscuits with UPC 897856002001 and cocktail ham biscuits with UPC 897856002049.
Consumers and retailers should not eat, serve or sell any of these products, the CDC and the Food Safety and Inspection Service warned. Products should be returned to where they were purchased or thrown away, and consumers are warned to check their freezers, as well
"Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators and freezers where recalled ham was stored," the CDC also said.