Hibernation (spacecraft)

Hibernation, as employed with reference to spacecraft, is a mode used when regular operations are suspended for an extended period of time but when restarting is expected (unlike termination). It is typically used for long duration and deep space missions in order to save power or other limited resources and extend mission life. The term is substantially similar to the hibernation mode used in computer power saving. Rosetta, a mission to study comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P), was placed into hibernation for 31 months to conserve its limited resources when it ventured near the orbit of Jupiter while en route to its rendezvous. The New Horizons mission, which entered hibernation mode many times on its way to Pluto and then again while en route to the Kuiper belt object 486958 Arrokoth, has a hibernation mode including some amount of health and status monitoring and occasional wake-ups to check and calibrate instruments. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, originally operated by the agency's astrophysics division for an infrared all-sky survey, was placed into hibernation in 2011 and then reawakened in 2013 to conduct an asteroid survey by the planetary science division.


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