It’s going to Be a ‘Miracle’ to Recuperate Glitching Voyager 1 Probe, Says NASA’s JPL

Humanity’s most distant spacecraft is glitching out—once more—and engineers are having fairly a tough time fixing the issue. Voyager 1, what are we going to do with you?

The problem is with the 46-year-old Voyager 1’s flight information system (FDS), certainly one of its three onboard computer systems. The FDS collects information from Voyager’s science devices and takes information on the spacecraft’s standing and normal well being. The system isn’t correctly speaking with the telemetry modulation unit, which really takes the info collected by the system and sends it to Earth.

That is simply the newest in a spate of communications points with the growing old Voyager 1, which launched in 1977, shortly after twin spacecraft Voyager 2. In Might 2022, the probe all of the sudden began sending nonsensical attitude articulation and control (AACS) data. Suzanne Dodd, venture supervisor for the Voyager missions, described the glitch as “par for the course at this stage.”

It turned out that the info was being transmitted by a defective laptop on the spacecraft, making it learn out as gibberish to Earth-based interpreters. Engineers resolved the issue by sending the telemetry by one of many spacecraft’s different computer systems. Within the three months between the issue arising and it being resolved, Voyager 1 traveled 100,000,000 miles.

In December 2023, Voyager 1 resumed sending gibberish; the telemetry modulation unit started emitting binary code that appeared to recommend it was caught. The mission workforce believes the difficulty actually lies with the FDS, the place the info is definitely coming from. The Voyager workforce tried to repair the issue by rebooting the FDS, however that failed. The gibberish persists.

“It could be the most important miracle if we get it again. We actually haven’t given up,” Dodd told Ars Technica. “There are different issues we will attempt. However that is, by far, probably the most severe since I’ve been venture supervisor.”

Voyager 1 is 15.14 billion miles away and continues to zip alongside at simply over 38,000 mph. It’s been two months, and the difficulty stays unresolved.

“​​We are able to discuss to the spacecraft, and it could hear us, nevertheless it’s a gradual course of given the spacecraft’s unimaginable distance from Earth,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated on Twitter. Each message despatched to Voyager takes 22.5 hours to get to the probe, and vice versa.

In any case, the Voyager missions are almost 50 years previous. They served their authentic goal many years in the past, so day by day we get information from them is a bonus. When the 2 Voyager spacecraft lastly sputter out or are given up on so far as information assortment goes, they’ll nonetheless be coasting—flying—into star-spangled infinity, as intrepid a retirement venture as any of us may ever dream of.

Extra: NASA Power Hack Extends 45-Year Voyager 2 Mission Even Longer

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