Nasa CubeSats disappear after flying past Mars (travel, vehicles)


INTRO: A pair of briefcase-sized Nasa spacecraft have been lost after they flew past Mars. The two robots – collectively known as Marco and nicknamed EVE and WALL-E – have flown so deep into space that the space agency is now unable to reach them, engineers said. It is unlikely the pair will ever be heard from again.

It has been more than a month since the robots were last heard from and they are now millions of miles beyond the red planet. But Nasa considers the very fact it could talk to them at all a major success. The two craft pushed up against the limits of experimental technology, they say, and helped prove concepts that could allow such tiny robots to venture even more deep into space.

MarCO was the first interplanetary mission to use a class of small spacecraft known as CubeSats. Together, the pair worked as communications relays during the landing of InSight, a Nasa rover that dropped down around New Year and will be delving deep into Mars's surface....


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