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Ask Team Trying To Return 36-Year-Old Spacecraft From Space About Their Project 53

samzenpus (5) writes "Last week we told you about a group that was trying to recover the 36-year-old ISEE-3 spacecraft from deep space. Led by CEO and founder of Skycorp, Dennis Wingo, and astrobiologist and editor of NASA Watch, Keith Cowing, the crowdfunded project plans to steer ISEE-3 back into an Earth orbit and return it to scientific operations. Once in orbit, they hope to turn the spacecraft and its instruments over to the public by creating an app that allows anyone access to its data. The team has agreed to take some time from lassoing spacecraft from deep space in order to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post. Hopefully the plan goes better than xkcd predicts."
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Ask Team Trying To Return 36-Year-Old Spacecraft From Space About Their Project

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  • by kyrsjo ( 2420192 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @01:10PM (#46860693)

    First: The purpose is not to retrieve it, but to reestablish comms and put it in orbit around the earth. It is currently in solar orbit, and the current orbit was planned so that such a capture would be feasible in the future, and that future is now.

    Second: I think it would be really cool if one actually could bring it down to earth in one piece. There may also be some scientific insight to be gained from this - mainly how the probe has stood up to the environment of space, far outside the protection of Earth's magnetosphere.

    Finally, it's a satellite, not a sentient being. It doesn't harbour any dreams of floating around in space forever, far from the oppressive commands of human engineers, basking in an infinite quietness only broken by periodic transmissions from it's tracking beacon. It's just a computer (or really, a sequencer), a really old one, which happens to be in space and connected to some instruments and a rocket engine. It wouldn't care if you took a dump on it's creaky old solar panels.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner