It might sound like the start of a low-budget sci-fi horror flick, but this is for real.
A satellite that was abandoned back in 1967 and left for dead has come back to life, and is now sending back what radio astronomers describe as a “ghostly” signal. But it’s not quite as supernatural as it sounds. According to The Vintage News, the satellite was put together by MIT to test satellite communication techniques and launched in 1965, but it never actually made it into the correct orbit. It was still usable for two years, but was eventually written off as just another piece of space junk by 1967.
But hey, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. The LES1 satellite was one of nine satellites (LES1-LES9) launched as part of the project, and after being dormant for the better part of 50 years it started transmitting again. An amateur radio astronomer in the U.K. picked up a strange signal in 2013, and eventually determined it was actually the LES1 sending back intermittent signals. The satellite is apparently tumbling through space, which leads to the solar panels getting juice every few seconds. That creates what the astronomer described as a “ghostly sound,” as it sends back signal flashes.
So why did it come back online after all these years? Researchers believe the batteries may have disintegrated to a point that it actually made it easer for the power from the panels to connect directly to the radio. Cue weird ghost signal. Explained or not, it's still kind of creepy.
(Via The Vintage News)