Since there are very few objects in our Solar System that can harbor life, astronomers have constantly been shifting their attention elsewhere. In the Universe, there are trillions of galaxies, each having billions of stars. Therefore, the chances theoretically for extraterrestrial life to exist are sky rocking, and it’s worth investing knowledge, time, and research to find it.
One of the spacecraft destined to explore exoplanets is the ASTERIA satellite, and the mission operators from NASA managed to communicate with it until December 5, 2019 successfully. Since then, the operators mysteriously couldn’t re-establish the connection from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
ASTERIA is classified as a ‘CubeSats’ satellite
The ASTERIA satellite has been designed to explore anything unusual that it could find in the proximity of an exoplanet. The spacecraft is only the size of a briefcase, and thus it shocked the world. Very few people would have guessed that the technologies needed for studying exoplanets can actually fit on such small satellites.
It had some impressive milestones
Since ASTERIA has been launched into Earth orbit more than two years ago, on November 20, 2017, it proved itself very useful until the signal was lost. The satellite demonstrated that it could make precise measurements of the brightness of distant stars. With the data gathered, scientists have been able to use the transit method more efficiently, so they could detect new structures believed to be exoplanets.
Lorraine Fesq, current ASTERIA program manager, stated:
The ASTERIA project achieved outstanding results during its three -month prime mission and its nearly two-year-long extended mission,
Although we are disappointed that we lost contact with the spacecraft, we are thrilled with all that we have accomplished with this impressive CubeSat.
Is anybody willing to bet that alien life forms from other planets have destroyed or stolen the little satellite?