Tiny satel­lites do job, then fall silent

The Times-Tribune - - HEALTH&SCIENCE -

Two tiny satel­lites have fallen silent hun­dreds of mil­lions of miles away af­ter prov­ing new tech­nol­ogy at Mars.

The twin Cube­sats, nick­named WALL-E and EVE, shad­owed NASA’S In­sight lan­der to Mars last year. As the lan­der de­scended to the Mar­tian sur­face in Novem­ber, the brief­case-size satel­lites flew past the red planet, pro­vid­ing real-time up­dates to ground con­trollers in this first-of-its-kind ex­per­i­ment.

Last week, NASA said it hasn’t heard from them for more than a month now — and doubts it ever will.

These were the first Cube­sats to ven­ture into deep space, part of an $18.5 mil­lion ex­per­i­ment to see whether such com­pact, cheap de­vices might serve as ra­dio re­lays at far­away worlds.

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