The European Space Agency (ESA) has reactivated the heterodyne instrument for the far infrared (HiFi) on the Herschel space observatory.

The spacecraft is the most powerful infrared telescope in space. It studies the origin and evolution of stars and galaxies to help understand the evolution of the universe.

Herschel is also the first observatory to cover from far-infrared to sub-millimetre wavelengths and bridge the two to explore further in the far-infrared than previous missions.

The spacecraft carries two cameras and a high-resolution spectrometer as well as the HiFi.

The HiFi, designed to observe water in a variety of celestial objects, faced a glitch from the failure of an electronic component and was restored after 160 days of remote repair work.

In the near future, the HiFi will be used to study star-forming regions in our galaxy including the nearby Orion Nebula, a large star-forming region that will become visible towards the end of the month.