HOUSTON, July 29 (UPI) — Two Earth-orbiting satellites scheduled to “die” this year have been given a reprieve and sent to the moon to do more science, researchers say.
The two are part of a fleet of five satellites launched by NASA in 2007 to study the space storms that cause the northern and southern lights, or auroras, on Earth, NewScientist.com reported Thursday.
Two of the solar-powered satellites, if left in their Earth orbits, would have entered a long period in our planet’s shadow in March, fatally draining their batteries, scientists said.
So NASA scientists gave each a slight nudge in late 2009 with their onboard thrusters that will see the satellites eventually settle into new orbits around the moon, where their instruments will be used to study tenuous gas surrounding the moon called the exosphere and its interactions with solar winds.
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