Launched in 2000, NASA’s IMAGE (Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration) satellite was tasked with studying how Earth’s magnetosphere was affected by the solar wind, imaging plasma streams in the planet’s atmosphere from an orbit that took it 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) above the North Pole. NASA considered IMAGE’s initial two-year mission a success, and had approved it for a mission extension that would last until 2010, but in December 2005, the spacecraft went silent, and the space agency declared the satellite lost.
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