The older Voyager 1 space probe was surprised to respond after receiving a “nudge” from Earth

Voyager 1 will not carry any usable data until November 2023, when it sends a stable radio signal to its mission control instrument on Earth.

Voyager 1 space probe photo: NASA.

Mission engineers encouraged older exploration Voyager 1 And they got one Answer Five months of communication with the old spacecraft will spur efforts to resolve the problem. It keeps running 46 years after its inception.

Launched in 1977 with its twin, the Voyager 2, the ship heads into an uncharted region in the outer reaches of the solar system. However, even though it sends a constant radio signal to its control instruments on Earth, No useful data has been carried since November Due to a problem with one of the three internal computers.

Images captured by the Voyager 1 space probe Video: NASA.

Recently, A New identity The mission team advises received from the spacecraft National Astronomy and Space Administration (NASA) Progress is being made in trying to understand the problems experienced Voyager 1is about 24 billion kilometers from earth.

Meanwhile, the Voyager 2 Traveled a lot 20.3 billion kilometers from Earth, and both probes are interstellar and only operational Beyond the HeliosphereA solar bubble extending from the orbit Pluto.

Initially designed to last five years Voyager studies They are the longest-lived spacecraft in operation to date. Its exceptional lifespan allowed it to gather more information about the solar system after reaching its flyby targets. Thursday, Sat, Uranus Y Neptune.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft, one year before its launch (1976).  Photo: NASA.The Voyager 1 spacecraft, one year before its launch (1976). Photo: NASA.

Aliens, Science, Space.  Photo: Unsplash.

Challenges the Voyager probes have faced over the years

The mission team discovered for the first time Communication problem with Voyager 1 On November 14, 2023, the Telemetry Modulation Unit began transmitting a repeat code. Since then, the team has worked to resolve the issue by issuing commands Restart the system and understand the cause of the error.

On March 1, the group sent an order “punch” want Voyager 1 To run different software series. Then, on March 3, they noticed activity in an area Flight data system It stood out from the rest of the confusing data.

Construction of the Voyager 1 space probe (1976).  Photo: NASA.Construction of the Voyager 1 space probe (1976). Photo: NASA.

Although the signal is not in conventional form, an engineer Deep space network from NASA It was able to be decoded. This signal includes a readout of the entire flight data system memory, allowing the team to compare with previous readings and detect differences.

“The remember (of a flight data system) includes its code or instructions for what to do, as well as variables or values ​​used in the code that can change depending on commands or the state of the spacecraft,” a blog post elaborates. NASA.

And, he explained: “It has Scientific data or engineering for downlinks. “The team will compare this reading to what appeared before the problem occurred and look for discrepancies in the code and variables to determine the source of the current problem.”

Construction of the Voyager 1 space probe (1976).  Photo: NASA.Construction of the Voyager 1 space probe (1976). Photo: NASA.

The Voyager 1 is too far away Orders take 22.5 hours to arrive from Earth, and it will take another 45 hours to get a response. By reading the memory, the team can develop a possible solution to delays in data transfer.

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The Voyager 2 He is not one who has faced communication problems in the past. Despite this, NASA was able to quickly establish communications in a situation similar to its double probe, but decided to gradually turn off some of the instruments of these “senior citizens” to save more energy and extend their missions for a few more years.

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