last night the hubble space telescope (HST) lost its advanced camera for surveys (ACS) :(
ACS has been running on its backup electrical system since last summer, but that failed last night. ACS has been taken an amazing amount of images of the universe including the deepest optical image ever taken, the hubble ultra-deep field!
almost every object in this image is a galaxy... each harboring hundreds of millions of stars!!
the electrical failure has not affected the other instruments on HST, so hubble can still use the other 3 instruments on board. the 5-day servicing mission scheduled for september 2008 will still occur as currently planned, but it will not change to fix ACS because that would take too much time and money.
ACS was expected to last 5 years and made it for 4.9! we got our moneys worth!! i'm actually writing a paper right now that included data taken with this camera! it has contributed immensly to our understanding and vision of the cosmos!