Nasa Loses Contact with Deep Impact Spacecraft

Spacecraft Out Of Control?

After travelling over 7 billion kilometer in space, Nasa’s Deep Impact spacecraft has lost contact with Earth.

Launched in 2005, Deep Impact became famous when it launched a smaller spacecraft to crash into oncoming comet Tempel 1 to observe the impact. Deep Impact was renamed Epoxi after its mission was extended to observe comets and stars with transiting exoplanets.

The craft lost contact with Earth sometime between 11 August and 14 August, chief scientist Michael A’Hearn of the University of Maryland said. Commands to put the craft in hibernation, or safe mode, were unsuccessful and Deep Impact is now spinning out of control, the scientific journal Nature reported on September 5.

Engineers have found that a software communications glitch reset the craft’s computer.
They are now trying to work out how to communicate with the distant craft. All this is like groping in the dark as scientists are unsure whether to broadcast signals to the vehicle’s high-gain or low-gain antenna because its orientation is not known.
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