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Amateur Team Succesfully Commands NASA's Zombie Spacecraft

The achievement is important for many reasons. While the amateur team trying to reboot the ISEE-3 has been in radio contact with the probe for more than a month, this is the first time it has successfully commanded moving parts onboard. It’s important for technical reasons. The ISEE-3 is “spin-stabilized,” meaning it only functions properly when it’s tumbling over itself. The team can now adjust that spin. And, finally, it’s important for planning reasons. Now, the team can begin to fire the ISEE-3’s thrusters and change the ship’s trajectory—hopefully, keeping it from crashing into the moon. Keith Cowing, a journalist-turned-mission-leader, told me that they hoped to begin changing its course on Tuesday. “We’re pretty much confident now that it’ll come close to the moon but not crash into it,” he said. More via MSN.

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