MAR 24, 2017 5:07 AM PDT

What Happens When Scientists "Lose" a Satellite?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


When we send probes and other spacecraft into space for the sake of space exploration, we have a hefty responsibility of keeping track of them so that we know exactly where they are at all times. This is important for the sake of maintaining a solid line of communication with them.

Unfortunately, there are instances from where we lose contact with our probes and satellites, and they simply drift away in silence. This is ultimately what we call a "lost" satellite, because it happens to disappear from our tracking systems and we lose track of it until the unlikely event that we're able to re-establish communications again.

During the span of time a satellite is lost, it can drift just about anywhere. Scientists are pretty good at calculating their movements manually, but the process isn't perfect, leaving a lot of guesswork at times. Sometimes it leaves us with inaccurate figures, which is the worst nightmare for finding a lost satellite.

Satellites have been lost before and it's not uncommon. Sometimes satellites have trouble getting the power they need to relay a signal back to us, in other circumstances, they can become struck by other objects or software glitches can prevent satellites from talking to us. There are other scenarios as well, but some situations are worse than others.

In some circumstances, it's possible to "find" a lost satellite. NASA has accomplished it before and will likely continue to do it, but it's not easy. Space is vast, and when something becomes lost, it is often a daunting task to even know where to begin. Luckily, no one knows space physics quite like NASA.

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
NOV 19, 2020
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
Sour beer isn't for everyone: its unique taste of acidity and tartness could excite some but turn off others.  ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
JAN 11, 2021
Immunology
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
JAN 11, 2021
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
Macrophages are a type of immune cell that can detect and destruct bacteria, viruses, and harmful materials. They a ...
FEB 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
FEB 06, 2021
Why Does Saturn Tilt?
Two scientists from France have figured out why Saturn sits at a tilt. And they say that over the next few billion years ...
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
JUL 03, 2021
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
Researchers led by the University of Maryland have found that the sun's magnetic field is the reason behind the larg ...
OCT 15, 2021
Health & Medicine
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
OCT 15, 2021
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
Mask wearing has become a part of our everyday lives. Something that we have all adapted to because of this is expressin ...
Loading Comments...