Voyager 1 is sending data again after NASA remotely adjusted the 46-year-old probe Space

Voyager 1, Earth's most distant spacecraft, has begun communicating properly with NASA again after engineers worked for months to remotely repair the 46-year-old probe.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which develops and operates the agency's robotic spacecraft. said in December That probe — 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) away — sends code back to Earth.

In An update was released on Monday, JPL announced that the mission team managed “after some discovery testing” to obtain usable data about the health and condition of Voyager 1's engineering systems. “The next step is for the spacecraft to start returning science data again,” JBL said. Despite the fault, Voyager 1 operated normally throughout.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 was designed with the primary goal of conducting close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn over a five-year mission. However, its journey continued and the spacecraft is now approaching half a century in operation.

Voyager entered interstellar space on 1 August 2012, becoming the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It is currently traveling at 37,800 mph (60,821 km/h).

The latest problem relates to one of the spacecraft's three onboard computers, which are responsible for packaging scientific and engineering data before it is sent back to Earth. Since the broken chip could not be repaired, the JPL team decided to move the corrupted code elsewhere, considering the older technology.

The computers on board Voyager 1 and its sister probe, Voyager 2, have a total of less than 70 kilobytes of memory—the equivalent of a low-resolution computer image. They use old fashioned digital tape to record data.

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The correction was sent from Earth on April 18, but it took two days to assess whether it was successful because the radio signal takes about 22 and a half hours to reach Voyager 1. Earth. “When the mission flight crew returned from the spacecraft on April 20, they found that the conversion had worked,” JBL said.

Along with its announcement, JBL posted a photo of Voyager crew members clapping and cheering in a conference room after receiving reusable data, laptops, notebooks and donuts on the table in front of them.

Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who flew two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station, compared the JPL mission to long-distance maintenance on a vintage car.

“Imagine a computer chip failed in your 1977 vehicle. Now imagine it's 15 billion miles away in interstellar space,” Hadfield said. Wrote in X. “NASA's Voyager probe was fixed by this brilliant software dynamics team.

Voyager 1 and 2 took extensive records of Saturn and made several scientific discoveries, including revealing that Jupiter also has rings and that one of its moons, Io, has active volcanoes. Studies have since discovered 23 new moons orbiting exoplanets.

Because their path took them far from the Sun, the Voyager probes could not use solar panels, instead converting the heat produced from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium into power for the spacecraft's systems.

NASA hopes to continue collecting data from the two Voyager spacecraft for several more years, but engineers expect them to be out of range for communication in about a decade, depending on how much power they can generate. Voyager 2 is slightly behind its twin and is moving slightly slower.

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In about 40,000 years, the probes will pass relatively close to the two stars, astronomically speaking. Voyager 1 will come within 1.7 light-years of a star in the Ursa Minor galaxy, while Voyager 2 will come within the same distance of Ras 248, a star in the Andromeda galaxy.

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