Europe losing hope for Earth observation satellite

The European Space Agency has all but lost hope of recovering its stricken Earth observation satellite Envisat.

The agency lost contact with the satellite April 8 and all efforts to restore communications have failed. ESA said Wednesday that it will continue trying to reconnect but that chances of doing so are now "extremely low."

Envisat is described as "the world's most complex Earth observation satellite" and has been used by scientists over the past decade to provide information on land, oceans, ice and the atmosphere. It has long exceeded its expected life span of five years.

ESA plans to begin launching a new generation of Earth observation satellites called Sentinel next year.