nasa stereoIf a car goes missing, you can attempt to track it down by sending out search parties, but if a spacecraft goes missing or if contact has been lost, that’s a whole different story. In fact it might be safe to assume that if that happens, you can pretty much write it off as a very expensive loss, but it seems that was something NASA wasn’t quite prepared to do just yet.

Several years ago, NASA launched the STEREO-B probe, but come 1st of October, 2014, the agency lost communications with the spacecraft, which many assumed was lost for good. However on Sunday, it seems that NASA was able to reestablish contact with the spacecraft when they were able to pick up the craft’s signal using the Deep Space Network.

How it lost the signal in the first place was due to NASA’s decision to reset the spacecraft, which was one of two spacecraft’s the agency launched to study solar outbursts. The idea was that since both crafts had moved to the far side of the sun, communication with the vehicles was difficult and they had to point the antennas closer to the sun, which also put it at risk of getting overheated.

NASA decided to angle the antennas away and put both crafts in a year-long safe mode until it was safe to communicate with Earth again. While STEREO-A performed fine during the tests, STEREO-B failed and was unable to send signals back to Earth. The agency has since been trying to reestablish contact, and now that they have, “The STEREO Missions Operations team plans further recovery processes to assess observatory health, re-establish attitude control, and evaluate all subsystems and instruments.”

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