NASA Loses Contact With Satellite To Study Distant Planets

Washington: NASA has misplaced contact with a satellite tv for pc designed to check planets outdoors our photo voltaic system.

Mission operators at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, mentioned in a press release that the final communication with the Asteria (Arcsecond Area Telescope Enabling Analysis in Astrophysics) was in December and they’ll try and contact it until March.

Asteria belongs to a class of satellites referred to as CubeSats, which fluctuate in dimension however are usually smaller than a suitcase.

Deployed into the Earth orbit from the area station in 2017, the mission aimed to indicate that small satellites might someday be used to help bigger exoplanet missions, resembling NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite tv for pc Survey (TESS), mentioned the US area company.

“The project achieved outstanding results during its three-month prime mission and its nearly two-year-long extended mission,” mentioned JPL’s Lorraine Fesq, present Asteria programme supervisor.

“Although we are disappointed that we lost contact with the spacecraft, we are thrilled with all that we have accomplished with this impressive CubeSat,” Fesq added.

Asteria noticed a handful of close by stars and efficiently demonstrated that it might obtain precision measurements of the celebrities’ brightness.

“With that data, scientists look for dips in a star’s light that would indicate an orbiting planet passing between the satellite and the star,” mentioned NASA.

Mission knowledge continues to be being analysed to verify whether or not the satellite tv for pc noticed any distant worlds.

Even when contact is just not regained with Asteria, scientists can nonetheless conduct experiments on CubeSat autonomy programmes utilizing the mission testbed — a duplicate of the spacecraft’s inside {hardware}, stored on Earth for testing functions.


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