A black hole-hunting Japanese satellite that disappeared last week has mysteriously surfaced again and made contact with ground control.
Japanese space agency JAXA lost contact with the Hitomi space probe on Saturday, when the satellite was due to start operations.
The satellite was later found to have smashed apart into five separate pieces.
The satellite later managed to send two short communications to mission control though these haven’t helped ground crew to unravel the mystery of what happened.
“JAXA has not been able to figure out the state of its health, as the time frames for receiving the signals were very short,” said JAXA in astatement.
The US Joint Space Operations Center, which spotted the broken apart satellite has said there’s no evidence that the probe was hit by space debris.
This suggests that the Hitomi’s fate is more likely to be the result of a technical malfunction on the probe itself.
JAXA has not yet be able to find out if they satellite can be salvaged.
A video made by astronomer Paul Maley in Arizona appears to show the satellite spinning out of control, which could explain why it has lost contact with ground control.