Sunday , January 17 2021

Silence beyond Mars

Photo: NASA /

WASHINGTON, 11 FEB – More than a month ago, NASA did not receive signals from the two MarCo mini-satellites (Mars Cube One), launched in May 2018 to continue the Insight Probe mission on Mars and then continue its journey into space . .

He was informed today by the US space company.

According to his estimates, satellites – the size of a folder – will be 1.6 and 3.2 million kilometers away from the red planet, respectively.

However, the reasons for its mysterious silence are still unclear.

& # 39; This mission wanted to go beyond the limit miniaturized to see where it could take us, "said Andy Klesh, chief mission engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

NASA handles several hypotheses. In principle, the satellite MarCO-B (renamed Wall-E in honor of the Pixar film) has a propeller with problems.

But it does not preclude the disadvantages of structure control, which can cause both satellites to fluctuate, affecting the ability to send and receive commands.

Another crucial error factor could be related to brightness sensors that allow small satellites to remain pointed toward the sun to recharge the batteries with the solar panels.

Although this long-standing silence may be the end of the adventure for the two pioneers of low-cost research, they were made with only $ 18.5 million by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. missionaries are optimistic.

They say they are satisfied with the results achieved and trust that they will listen to Cubesat next summer (boreal) when both resume their movement toward the Sun.

Although they do not take into account that batteries and other components may not survive for so long.

"We reached a first step, but the cube sat of the future could go even further," Klesh concluded. (ANSA).

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