A Spacecraft For All
SPACE NERDS CAN WITNESS SPACE HISTORY, AND MAYBE MAKE THEIR OWN. spacecraftforall.com Launched in 1978, the ISEE-3 spacecraft was initially intended to study the Sun’s solar winds but, despite succeeding in its mission, it was sacrificed for a greater purpose. Upon discovering a nearby comet in 1982, the craft was co-opted to fly through the comet’s tail in order to collect previously undiscovered information on the space rock’s material composition. Afterwards, it was left to drift in an orbit that would eventually return it to Earth’s orbit some 30 years later. In 2014, a team re-established contact with the satellite and sent it a command to once again transmit live data from its instruments. This information is being collected by the ISEE-3 reboot team and published in an informative and accessible manner on the website, A Spacecraft For All, for the sake of citizen science. The site also includes an interactive video on the history of the ISEE-3, as well as an artist’s rendition of its current position in relation to Earth. While its propulsion systems are no longer functioning, the satellite will continue beaming back data on magnetic fields, solar winds and cosmic rays until it drifts into oblivion.