- Created: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 14:01
Working inside a very tight time frame, engineers have detected ICE-3, launched in 1978 and re-purposed as a comet chaser while in space, and are investigating whether the doughty craft might yet perform more science. Its suite of a dozen or more plasma and high-energy particle sensors are believed to be functional.
Mortherboard has much more on this fascinating story with a Kentucky twist in its piece, "Everyone But NASA Wants To Wake Up This Long-Dormant Spacecraft."
'It's the most cost-effective spacecraft we ever had and I'd like to make it even more cost-effective. It can do more missions,' said Bob Farquhar, the 'orbit maestro' who originally turned the ISEE-3 into the ICE and got America to a comet before any other country.
Just like in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the space probe is coming home. In August of this year, the ISEE-3/ICE will swing back by the Earth after nearly three decades of large, looping orbits around the Sun. Some believe that ISEE-3/ICE could be recycled again, and go back to being a solar-weather-observation platform, provided its thrusters are fired soon.
The craft was detected last week by the 21-meter steerable radio telescope at Morehead State University, a partner institution of Kentucky Space. The Director of the Space Science Center at MSU, Dr. Ben Malphrus, had this to say: