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Amateur Astronomer Discovers NASA Satellite That’s Been Lost For 12 Years

12 years ago, NASA lost one of its prized possessions; a satellite called IMAGE. The satellite abruptly stopped responding to NASA scientists back in 2005 however, after 12 years it has been found.

In January, an amateur astronomer came across signals from the IMAGE satellite while searching for traces of a secretive Zuma mission that was launched by the ever-famous SpaceX. Scott Tilley, who is based in Canada, took that signal and matched it to a NASA spacecraft, what he thinks is the IMAGE Satellite. Tilley quickly blogged and tweeted about his findings before reaching out to the investigator who was responsible for the satellite’s mission, according to Tilley’s blog.

Soon after the theory was researched, NASA set out to truly discover if it was in fact its long lost satellite. Using their Deep Space Network, a constellation of radio telescopes that they use in order to communicate with satellites, they were able to adequately identify the IMAGE satellite.

NASA mentioned some shocking news in a statement, “The NASA team has been able to read some basic housekeeping data from the spacecraft, suggesting that at least the main control system is operational.”
The IMAGE space craft, launched on March 25, 2000, was designed to study the earth’s magnetosphere. It had completed its mission and entered into an extended phase when it lost contact with NASA officials. Before its loss of communication, it made 37 unique scientific discoveries.
When asked about what NASA will do with its new found information and recovered spacecraft, its response:
“Scientists and engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will continue to try to analyze the data from the spacecraft to learn more about the state of the spacecraft.” [via CNN]