NASA’s first mini-spacecraft MarCO CubeSats in deep space go silent

  • NASA’s first mini-spacecraft MarCO CubeSats in deep space go silent

NASA’s first mini-spacecraft MarCO CubeSats in deep space go silent

But now a pair of NASA probes sent to study Mars in further detail have dramatically disappeared without a trace.

In a new post by NASA, scientists reveal that it's now been over a month since either of the MarCO CubeSats made contact with Earth, and nobody knows if we'll ever hear from them again.

NASA engineers are now resigned losing the probes forever.

The MarCO spacecraft made it successfully to Mars past year, but have recently lost contact with Earth.

The success of MarCO provided proof that cubesat-class spacecraft could perform useful missions in deep space.

The cubesats were named Wall-E and Eve after the characters from the popular animated Disney film.

CubeSats are an increasingly common type of satellite created to decrease costs and allow researchers to put scientific instruments into launch vehicles with leftover capacity.

NASA will use the compact spacecraft to explore the furthest of infinite space.

The two craft - which together cost less than £20 million to make - have now stopped communicating with mission control.

'This mission was always about pushing the limits of miniaturized technology and seeing just how far it could take us, ' said Klesh.

"We've put a stake in the ground", he said. Inside the dome, the seismometer is also contained in a titanium, vacuum-sealed container, the combination of which helps insulate the instrument even further from environmental hazards.

The twin cubesats that played a key role in NASA's most recent Mars lander mission have been out of contact with the Earth for more than a month, suggesting their trailblazing mission has come to an end. The relatively cheap satellites were the first time that CubeSats had entered the space between planets. One of the cubesats, WALL-E, had a leaking thruster.

But it appears the NASA spacecraft has finally been pushed beyond their limits.

WALL-E, which had been leaking fuel since liftoff last May, last radioed back on December 29. Trajectory data suggests that Wall-E is more than 1 million miles past Mars with EVE being almost 2 million miles past Mars.

Nasa has several theories about why it has lost contact with the pair - none of which involve the interference of aliens.

Attitude-control issues could be causing them to wobble and lose the ability to send and receive commands, NASA said in a statement.

They may have suffered malfunctions affecting the brightness sensors which point them towards the sun, allowing solar panels to recharge the crafts' batteries.

The MarCO cubesats will most likely remain orbiting around the sun and will only get farther away from the star as the month continues.

The MarCOs will not start moving toward the Sun again until this summer.