Just at the time that NASA's Deep Impact satellite would capture detailed images of comet Ison, NASA lost contact with Deep Impact spacecraft and after month’s radio silence, NASA declared the end to Deep Impact comet mission.
The spacecraft's handlers lost contact with Deep Impact sometime between Aug. 11 and Aug. 14, mission team members announced Sept. 3.
After two weeks of deafening radio silence from Deep Impact as well as engineers have tried unsuccessfully to regain contact with the vessel for a month, have led NASA to conclude the Deep Impact vessel will explore no more and finally admitted defeat and announced the end of the mission.
The cause of the failure was unknown, but engineers suspect the spacecraft lost control, causing its antenna and solar panels to point in the wrong direction. Without power flowing to its onboard computer, Deep Impact's battery and propulsion systems may have frozen, causing it to spin out of control through the solar system.
The issue stems from a software glitch that reset Deep Impact's computer
It's unclear how much time the mission team has to bring Deep Impact back in line. Depending on how the probe's solar panels are oriented, Deep Impact's batteries could run out of juice in a matter of days or keep going for several months, the Nature News Blog reported.
How long we have depends on the state the spacecraft is in, and we don't yet know that," A'Hearn told Space.com. "Could be that it is too late already — could be we have another month or more."
Guess what, the impossible has become possible again.
NASA's Deep Impact Comes Back To Life!
This interactive 3D orbital plotter has been developed to show the trajectories of the Deep Impact spacecraft and Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON).
Link to NASA site 'Near Earth Object Program - Orbit diagram Deep Impact - Ison ( http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/orbits/epoxi1.html )
I Have a feeling we are not being told the whole story...It looks as if Deep Impact has not missed a beat despite NASA Claiming to have lost control in September......It’s still right on schedule!
sources: cosmostv , nationalgeographic , independent.co.uk , nbcnews