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The First CubeSats Ever to Visit Mars Have Gone Silent

09 February 2019

NASA used to the CubeSats to see if they are a viable and thrifty way to track of spacecraft during the landing process, arguably the most vital part of any mission.

Klesh said then that the project was discussing with NASA potential extended missions involving the MarCO cubesats as they flew away from the planet into interplanetary space, such as collecting engineering data on the performance of the cubesats and "seeing what other great science and lessons we can pull from those craft". It was accompanied by two tiny satellites called CubeSats, or in this case, MarCO, for Mars Cube One.

Even if NASA never hears from EVE or Wall-E again, they consider the MarCO mission a success. They were nicknamed WALL-E and EVE after the Pixar characters of the same name and were last heard from on December 29 and January 4, respectively.

NASA said that based on trajectory calculations, WALL-E is more than 1 million miles past Mars, while EVE is nearly 2 million miles past the Red Planet. EVE went mum on January 4; it's almost 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometres) past the red planet.

Placed into an elliptical solar orbit, both CubeSats, whose $18.5-million cost was funded by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, are now well past Mars. "We've put a stake in the ground". But it's rare for them to go adventuring so far from home. The gizmos provided real-time updates of Insight's progress toward the dust world's surface, making it slightly less nerve-wracking for ground control.

"WALL-E has a leaky thruster".

Both spaceships will start moving towards the sun this summer and it's hoped they will spring back to life. At the time, the MarCO team collected data from each satellite to determine how much fuel they had left and took a deeper look at how they performed.

They were named after the main characters in the 2008 animated movie.

The twin cubesats that played a key role in NASA's most recent Mars lander mission have been out of contact with the Earth for more than a month, suggesting their trailblazing mission has come to an end.

Managers consider it a last-ditch effort to reach Opportunity, which recently marked its 15th year on Mars. They were launched alongside the stationary lander InSight on May 5, 2018.

The seismometer records the waves traveling through the interior structure of a planet.

Heat probe: InSight's heat flow probe, HP3, burrows deeper than any other scoops, drills or probes on Mars before it. The high-carbon dioxide content of Mars's atmosphere is slow to conduct heat under the planet's low pressure environment, further protecting InSight's mission from local damaging effects.

JPL spokesman Andrew Good said February 5 that after the flyby the MarCO cubesats continued to transmit technical data about the performance of their various subsystems, including attitude control, propulsion and communications.

The First CubeSats Ever to Visit Mars Have Gone Silent