A Satellite lost by NASA 10 years ago has been discovered by an amateur radio astronomer, according to the space agency. The lost satellite, IMAGE, was a piece of equipment meant to observe the magnetosphere that surrounds our planet and protects it us from the radiations.
IMAGE was built to transmit, for the first time in history, images of the global magnetosphere to help scientists predict radiation storms. For example, the satellite sent home images of an enormous solar storm. Also, IMAGE has discovered that Earth removes jets from its own atmosphere to defend itself from space storms, but it also observed cracks in the magnetic field of the Earth.
That was until 2005 when the satellite stopped sending data. After a month of silence, NASA held a press conference and stated that the satellite’s mission was a real success, but it is over, as the satellite has gone dark.
A radio astronomer found IMAGE
When Tilley, an amateur radio astronomer, caught a signal, he almost ignored it. There are hundreds of satellites that are active in space, so he didn’t give any importance to the signal.
While continuing to scan, he received the same signal but more powerful this time. Out of curiosity, the man checked it in a standard catalog. The signal matched IMAGE. So, he started searching the internet and found a NASA report, ten years old, explaining their failure in retrieving the satellite. Soon after, he contacted the space agency.
The agency was skeptical at first and did not believe the signal that Tilley found came from IMAGE. So, after long talks with Tilley, the scientists decided to work on it.
Their tests have shown that orbit, frequency, oscillation, and rotation speed match their old lost satellite, IMAGE, which traveled through the space around the Earth for more than a decade.