On January 20, 2018, an amateur astronomer recorded observations in near-earth orbit, displaying an object. The initial study showed that this is a NASA IMAGE device, launched in 2000 to study the magnetopause.
To check the source of the signal, Goddard Space Flight Center sent 5 separate antennas to display radio frequency signals. January 29, all observations indicated that we have IMAGE. The radio frequency showed a surge at the expected center frequency, as well as sidebands for IMAGE.
To get rid of all doubts, NASA will try to capture and analyze information from the signals. But here comes the technical problem of decoding. The types of hardware and operating systems used in IMAGE no longer exist or have long been updated. If the decryption is successful, the agency will try to activate the scientific payload, which is currently not working. This will help to understand the status of various scientific instruments.
IMAGE was created to display the terrestrial magnetosphere and to obtain the first large-scale frames of a plasma population. The initial 2-year mission successfully completed in 2002, but since 2005 the connection has been cut off. After the eclipse of 2007, contact failed and the mission was declared complete.