NASA forgets how to talk to their own satellite

Photo by:  pamelainob
Photo by: pamelainob

In a case that painfully illustrates the way that accelerating technology can some times seem to move too fast, NASA has lost the ability to talk to one of its satellites.

ISEE-3/ICE, as the satellite in question is called, was launched in 1978, and became the first satellite to successfully flying through a comet’s tail.

Now, more than 30 years later, it is finally coming close to Earth again. On board the ISEE-3/ICE is equipment that would allow us to contact it. Sadly, there is a problem. The ISEE-3/ICE uses old-style transmitters, and NASA got rid of their last ones in 1999.

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