NASA announced Friday that it has lost contact with the Asteria minisatellite,media CNET reported. The microcube satellite Asteria (The Basic Research in Astrophysics of the Arc Second Space Telescope) is a suitcase-sized spacecraft. Its exoplanet hunting mission will take effect when it is deployed into orbit from the International Space Station in November 2017. NASA made its final contact with the satellite on December 5, 2019.
Asteria spent a lot of time observing the brightness of the stars, which may indicate the presence of distant planets. Scientists are still studying the data it sent back to see if it succeeded in discovering any other world. Asteria successfully completed its main mission in early 2018 and then deployed through three task extensions. But NASA still hopes it can collect more exoplanet observations.
NASA hasn’t completely given up. The space agency will continue to try to contact Asteria until March.
Microcube satellites like Asteria show that small, inexpensive spacecraft can provide meaningful scientific results. Lorrain Esq, Project Manager at Asteria, said: “While we are disappointed to lose contact with the spacecraft, we are very excited about what this impressive microcube satellite has done.