An amateur astronomer detected a lost NASA satellite that was declared dead in 2005 when the space agency recorded its last signal.
Scott Tilley said he spotted the IMAGE spacecraft while analyzing the skies in hopes of finding a multi-billion dollar super-secret government satellite called Zuma which was launched earlier this month.
Tilley said he found the rogue NASA satellite while looking in the S-band frequency range. Even though he didn’t spot Zuma, he did find IMAGE. After doing a quick research on Google, the astronomer found that IMAGE was declared “lost in space” in December 2005.
In a blog post, he explained that NASA deemed it a “total loss” because of a flaw in its design which barred it from operating in an extended mission designed to analyze the planet’s magnetosphere.
Tilley also noted that NASA was originally confident the satellite could be brought back to life through a ‘Transponder SSPC reset’ which was expected to occur during the 2007 eclipse, which never happened. IMAGE was launched in 2000 and was supposed to stay afloat for at least two years.
NASA Poised to Bring the Satellite Back to Life
The U.S. space agency confirmed the rediscovery of the satellite and said its researchers will try to contact it via radio antennas. Researcher Patricia Reiff of Rice University thinks that the satellite may still be alive. Rice was involved in the IMAGE mission.
- NASA couldn’t tell why the probe’s rotation rate is currently slower.
- This tiny aspect could make the effort to reestablish contact even more challenging.
- The NASA team is hoping to have some real data exchange with the spacecraft soon.
Rice explained that IMAGE is a state-of-the-art scientific tool that could provide invaluable information on the state of the planet’s magnetosphere and its reaction to solar storms. It can also be used to track space weather.
Researchers said they plan to revive IMAGE and instruct it to analyze the northern auroral zone.
Image Source: Maxpixel