Vintage NASA spacecraft set for interplanetary probe

Last Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 18:20

Washington: A team of scientists is priming a 36-year-old NASA spacecraft named International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 spacecraft, ISEE-3, to enter new science frontiers.

The spacecraft will now travel through interplanetary space after attempts to move the probe into a position closer to the Earth failed as there was not enough nitrogen pressurant left in the probe`s tanks, Space.com reported.

The spacecraft was originally launched in 1978 to study interactions between the Earth`s magnetic field and the solar wind.

"We were disappointed that we could not put it in the L-1 orbit but we are more interested in interplanetary space," Keith Cowing, a co-leader of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, was quoted as saying.

Even after more than three decades in space, at least five of the 13 instruments on the ISEE-3 are still active.
These may help scientists look for gamma-ray bursts which are the brightest explosions in the universe and often take place over just a few minutes.

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project plans to turn to crowd sourcing to ask for citizen scientists to set up radio dishes to listen in.
ISEE-3 will travel in a 300-day orbit around the sun but the final coordinates are still being determined, the report added.

IANS

First Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 18:20

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