The Voyager 1 space probe launched from Earth in September 1977, and is now all around 23.5 billion kilometers (or 14.6 billion miles) away from dwelling – and counting. But inspite of that intellect-blowing distance, NASA researchers just carried out a maintenance task on the craft.
Due to the fact May, Voyager 1 has been sending back again garbled data from its attitude articulation and management process (AACS), which is the portion of the probe that guarantees that its antenna is pointed toward Earth.
Even though the rest of the probe continued to behave typically, the facts it sent again about its health and functions didn’t make any sense. As a result of a switch in the way information is sent back again from Voyager 1, the problem has now been mounted.
“We are joyful to have the telemetry again,” states Suzanne Dodd, Voyager’s task manager at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
Scientists have been ready to figure out that the spacecraft had started transmitting data as a result of an on-board laptop or computer that was known to have stopped working years in the past. The NASA staff commanded Voyager 1 to switch back to the suitable personal computer for communications.
What we do not know yet is why Voyager 1 determined to start switching up how it was sending details back to its home planet. The most probably explanation is a faulty command generated from someplace else on the probe’s digital programs.
That in switch indicates that there is yet another problem somewhere else, usually the personal computer swap would never ever have been built. On the other hand, the Voyager 1 staff is confident that the extensive-term wellbeing of the spacecraft isn’t really below menace.
“We’ll do a comprehensive memory readout of the AACS and search at every little thing it can be been accomplishing,” claims Dodd. “That will help us test to diagnose the challenge that induced the telemetry issue in the initially spot.”
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 (which essentially released a month earlier than its twin) have traveled so far in 45 yrs that they’re now both further than the point known as the heliopause, exactly where the Sun’s photo voltaic winds can no for a longer time be felt and space is formally regarded as interstellar.
Irrespective of Voyager 1 shutting down some of its programs and shedding some performance in that time, and Voyager 2 needing some troubleshooting also, both the probes continue to report back to Earth – even while a information can just take all around two times to travel the expected distance.
The spacecraft have despatched again pictures from near to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, and in recent a long time have carried on recording and examining the bizarre and wonderful encounters they are owning out in area.
Voyager 1 has not activated its ‘safe mode’ schedule, which implies it does not detect nearly anything faulty, and the sign from the spacecraft hasn’t weakened. All getting very well, it can go on reporting back for numerous decades to arrive.
“We’re cautiously optimistic, but we continue to have additional investigating to do,” claims Dodd.
You can retain observe of the probe on the Voyager Mission Position site.