The Voyager 1 house probe launched from Earth in September 1977, and is now round 23.5 billion kilometers (or 14.6 billion miles) away from dwelling – and counting. However regardless of that mind-blowing distance, NASA scientists simply carried out a restore job on the craft.
Since Could, Voyager 1 has been sending again garbled data from its perspective articulation and management system (AACS), which is the a part of the probe that ensures that its antenna is pointed in the direction of Earth.
Though the remainder of the probe continued to behave usually, the data it despatched again about its well being and actions did not make any sense. By a change in the way in which knowledge is shipped again from Voyager 1, the difficulty has now been mounted.
“We’re blissful to have the telemetry again,” says Suzanne Dodd, Voyager’s mission supervisor on the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
Scientists have been ready to determine that the spacecraft had begun transmitting knowledge by an on-board pc that was recognized to have stopped working years in the past. The NASA crew commanded Voyager 1 to change again to the proper pc for communications.
What we do not know but is why Voyager 1 determined to begin switching up the way it was sending knowledge again to its dwelling planet. The probably clarification is a defective command generated from some place else on the probe’s digital programs.
That in flip suggests that there is one other drawback some place else, in any other case the pc change would by no means have been made. Nonetheless, the Voyager 1 crew is assured that the long-term well being of the spacecraft is not beneath risk.
“We’ll do a full reminiscence readout of the AACS and take a look at all the things it has been doing,” says Dodd. “That may assist us attempt to diagnose the issue that prompted the telemetry challenge within the first place.”
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 (which truly launched a month sooner than its twin) have traveled thus far in 45 years that they are now each past the purpose referred to as the heliopause, the place the Solar’s photo voltaic winds can not be felt and house is formally considered interstellar.
Regardless of Voyager 1 shutting down a few of its programs and shedding some performance in that point, and Voyager 2 needing some troubleshooting additionally, each the probes proceed to report again to Earth – although a message can take round two days to journey the required distance.
The spacecraft have despatched again pictures from near Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, and in recent times have carried on recording and analyzing the extraordinary experiences they’re having out in house.
Voyager 1 hasn’t triggered its ‘protected mode’ routine, which suggests it does not detect something defective, and the sign from the spacecraft hasn’t weakened. All being nicely, it will probably proceed reporting again for a few years to come back.
“We’re cautiously optimistic, however we nonetheless have extra investigating to do,” says Dodd.
You possibly can preserve monitor of the probe on the Voyager Mission Standing web site.
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