Last year, a pair of miniature spacecraft was launched under the mission of MarCO in order to test innovative navigation and communication technologies in the space. Their achievement was considered by endurance: If they were capable of continuously operating in deep space, they would be expanding the limits of trials based on innovative technology.
After surviving for a period of more than seven months, the spacecraft set appears to have achieved their limit. Scientists have not received any information from MarCO for more than a month. The twins were set to follow NASA’s InSight and act as a source of data transfer. Currently, the assigned team believes it doubtful that they’ll be reconnected again.
MarCO, known as Mars Cube One, is the only mission that used a class of tiny briefcase-sized cubical spacecraft called CubeSats in an interplanetary operation. The two MarCOs: EVE and WALL-E performed the task of signal transmission during the landing of InSight, sending data in quick possible duration.
Based on experimental technology, the MarCO mission was successfully launched in expenditure extremely lower than the majority of space missions. CubeSats were constructed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in $18.5 Million.
Since December 29, no information received from WALL-E; and EVE from January 4. Based on the projected estimations, WALL-E would have reached above 1 million miles away from Mars; while EVE has reached farther, around 2 million miles from Mars.
The team working over the mission has proposed several theories over the disconnection with the CubeSats. One of the reasons is a leaky thruster of WALL-W, which could have created imbalance, disturbing the signal transmission ability of the spacecraft. Another reason might be the improper functioning of brightness sensors that allow spacecraft to face towards the Sun for recharging.
The team believes MarCO mission as a stunning success, even though the spacecraft operated for a short duration.