Crowdfunding revives NASA probe

By: Hadlee Simons,

A 36-year-old NASA space probe has been brought back to life thanks to a private team.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3)’s engines were fired up again for the first time since 1987.

But this time, it wasn’t NASA hitting the buttons, but the ISEE-3 Reboot Project team, a feat made possible by $150 000 in crowd-funding for the project.

The ISEE-3 space probe. Credit: NASA

The ISEE-3 space probe. Credit: NASA

According to the Scientific American, the engines were fired up in preparation for a change in trajectory, expected to take place today (July 8). The trajectory change will require a longer thruster burn, however.

“After that we should be good to go for our lunar flyby on 10 August,” said the ISEE-3 Reboot Project’s Keith Cowing in a web post.

The project makes use of the Arecibo radio telescope, as well as Linux laptops and Skype.

The ISEE-3 space probe was the latest in a series of probes designed to study the Sun, observing coronal mass ejections and cosmic rays. But the probe also passed through a comet’s tail in the name of science.

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