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posted by janrinok on Sunday July 05 2015, @11:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the change-phone-provider dept.

NASA's mission to Pluto lost contact with ground controllers and went into "safe mode" when contact was re-established.

Ten days before NASA 's New Horizons spacecraft was due to make its closest approach to Pluto, the space agency reports that at 1:54 PM EDT on the afternoon of July 4th local U.S. time, it lost contact with the $700 million unmanned flyby mission for more than an hour and twenty minutes. Controllers were able to regain a signal from the probe via NASA's Deep Space Network at 3:15 PM. EDT, but as a result, the spacecraft's systems have entered safe mode until mission engineers can diagnose the problem.

Of course, New Horizons is way out there, which makes communications difficult.

Recovery from the event is inherently hamstrung due to the 9-hour, round trip communication delay that the agency says "results from operating a spacecraft almost 3 billion miles (4.9 billion kilometers) from Earth.

Fly-by is scheduled to take place on July 14th. Can't help but wonder if this is not revenge for being demoted to a dwarf planet.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by kaszz on Monday July 06 2015, @02:01AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday July 06 2015, @02:01AM (#205448) Journal

    Posted 15-07-05 15:43 UTC: []

    NASA says their New Horizons probe [] suffered a temporary communication breakdown [] on Saturday at 17:54 UTC, 10 days before it's supposed to fly past Pluto on 2015-07-14. The probe went into "safe mode" [] but it will still fly past Pluto at the planned distance, speed, and time. The glitch may cause the approach animations and a gap in the light curves for Nix and Hydra. The mission team is working to restore communications to normal. "Full recovery is expected to take from one to several days," NASA wrote in a status report on Saturday. "New Horizons will be temporarily unable to collect science data during that time. The latency one way is currently 4.5 hours.

    The two way communication progress can be seen here [] at the Canberra dish. There's a thread over at New Horizons Pluto System Encounter, 28 Jun 15 [] that has some things to say about the issue.

    Some close up pictures of the planet: dark band at the bottom is around the equator [].

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday July 06 2015, @02:36AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 06 2015, @02:36AM (#205456) Journal

    The two way communication progress can be seen here at the Canberra dish

    ...dark band at the bottom is around the equator.

    Blame Abbot (the aussie PM): the dark band is smoke coming from the nearby brown coal power stations in Victoria [].