NASA’s gamma-ray observatory is in safe mode after a possible wheel failure

A visualization of the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.  (Image credit: NASA)

NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory has temporarily stopped its science observations while the mission team investigates an issue.

On Tuesday night (Jan. 18), the observatory, a gamma-ray hunting space telescope originally called the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer, went into safe mode and paused all science work. This maneuver may have been in response to a reaction wheel failure, which the mission team continues to explore.