Will `vintage` sun explorer be saved in nick of time?
Washington: A “vintage” sun explorer satellite launched in 1978 by NASA to monitor the solar wind is going to fly past earth by mid-June next month.
If the scientists fails to communicate with the spacecraft in time, it will fly past into space - not to return for another 30 or 40 years.
Keeping the brief window in mind, NASA, on a tight budget, has decided to endorse a group of independent scientists to revive the spacecraft.
The group, officially known as “ISEE-3 Reboot Project”. signed a space act agreement with NASA this week.
In 1982, the International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) satellite was pulled away from its solar mission and joined a mini international race to make the first encounter with Halley’s comet.
The satellite was renamed as the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) that inspected Halley’s comet in 1986.
In March, radio astronomers tracked the spacecraft and its trajectory - raising hopes that the mission could be brought back to life, media reports said.
The scientists will now use the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico to beam new instructions to ISEE-3.
If they succeed, ISEE-3 will be given a new trajectory - taking it within 30 miles of the moon’s surface in August.
There, it could continue monitoring the solar wind, reports added.
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