Vintage NASA spacecraft set for interplanetary probe

IANS    31-Jul-2014

Washington, July 31: A team of scientists is priming a 36-year-old NASA spacecraft named International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 spacecraft, ISEE-3, to enter new science frontiers.

The spacecraft will now travel through interplanetary space after attempts to move the probe into a position closer to the Earth failed as there was not enough nitrogen pressurant left in the probe's tanks, reported.

The spacecraft was originally launched in 1978 to study interactions between the Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind.

"We were disappointed that we could not put it in the L-1 orbit but we are more interested in interplanetary space," Keith Cowing, a co-leader of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, was quoted as saying.

Even after more than three decades in space, at least five of the 13 instruments on the ISEE-3 are still active. These may help scientists look for gamma-ray bursts which are the brightest explosions in the universe and often take place over just a few minutes.

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project plans to turn to crowd sourcing to ask for citizen scientists to set up radio dishes to listen in.ISEE-3 will travel in a 300-day orbit around the sun but the final coordinates are still being determined, the report added.