Spaceship come home: can citizen scientists rescue an abandoned space probe?

Keith Cowing and Dennis Wingo are racing gravity.

International Sun / Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3), an abandoned 1970s spacecraft that once measured solar winds and flew through the tail of a comet, is headed back towards Earth. And last month, the pair of citizen scientists began an effort to make contact. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, their team is poised to take control of ISEE-3, with the chance of restarting a data-gathering mission that’s been dormant for almost 20 years. Earlier this week, the ISEE-3 Reboot project reached an official agreement with NASA, the first time the agency has approved an outside team attempting to resurrect a spacecraft that it never planned to use again. Now, Cowing, Mingo, and their team have…

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