A ghostly transmission from outer space has been traced to a US satellite that was scraped almost half a century ago. What sounds like the log-line of the next great horror/sci-fi is actually playing out right now in the dark skies above us—and scientists aren’t sure how this space-relic could have spontaneously reactivated.
The story of LES1 is otherwise forgettable. It was the first of the Lincoln Experimental Satellite series (constructed at MIT between 1965 and 1976 under USAF sponsorship) intended to test new communication techniques in high orbit. Unfortunately, a booster failure and wiring errors sent the fledgling flier tumbling off course; after several unsuccessful efforts to maneuver LES1 back into position, it was abandoned as “space junk” in 1967. All radio transmissions ceased when onboard batteries died decades ago, making it nearly impossible to differentiate for the many thousand chunks of debris littering our orbit. And that was the end of that—of so you’d think!
In 2013, self-described “Radio Archeologist” Phil Williams from North Cornwall accidentally detected a unique and hitherto unknown satellite signal. The hobbyist went to great pains to identify the source by crosschecking lists and launch dates, finally determining that the “ghostly sounds” were absolutely emanating form LES1. The strange fluctuations in the signal are caused by surging voltage when shadows pass over the satellite’s solar panels as it rotates every 4 seconds.
So what could have caused this long-dead hunk of junk to reactivate after 47 years in the unforgiving vacuum of space? An article in Vintage News posits a theory: “It is likely that the on board batteries have now disintegrated and some other component failure has caused the transmitter on 237Mhz, to start up when it’s in sunlight.”
While this explanation sounds like mumbo-jumbo to me, it seems as good a theory as any. No doubt there are those, though, who will see much more nefarious implications in this discovery. In Independence Day, for example, the aliens embedded a signal into our communications satellites in order to coordinate a worldwide attack. While everyone knows Independence Day is pure fiction, any hint of possible alien manipulation is terrifying!
“They’re using our own satellites against us!”
You can hear the unnerving transmission for yourself below. While static is heavy, you can definitely detect a high-pitched, fluctuating tone beneath it all, like howling wind or Theremin in play. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the punishing, frozen void of outer space—extremely chilling!
What do you think about these ghostly transmission emanating from long-abandoned LES1? Technological glitch or something more ominous? Sound off in the Comments section!
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