NASA’s Voyager 1 is continuous its journey past our Photo voltaic System, 45 years after it was launched. However now the veteran spacecraft is sending again unusual knowledge, puzzling its engineers.
NASA mentioned on Wednesday that whereas the probe continues to be working correctly, readouts from its angle articulation and management system – AACS for brief – do not appear to match the spacecraft’s actions and orientation, suggesting the craft is confused about its location in house.
The AACS is important for Voyager to ship NASA knowledge about its surrounding interstellar surroundings because it retains the craft’s antenna pointing proper at our planet.
„A thriller like that is form of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission,“ Suzanne Dodd, a undertaking supervisor for Voyager 1 and a couple of at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mentioned in a assertion.
„The spacecraft are each nearly 45 years previous, which is way past what the mission planners anticipated.“
NASA mentioned Voyager 1’s twin, the Voyager 2 probe, is behaving usually.
Launched in 1977 to discover the outer planets in our photo voltaic system, Voyager 1 has remained operational gone expectations and continues to ship details about its journeys again to Earth. The trailblazing craft left our Photo voltaic System and entered interstellar house in 2012. It’s now 14.5 billion miles away from Earth, making it essentially the most distant human-made object.
NASA mentioned that from what its engineers can inform, Voyager 1’s AACS is sending randomly generated knowledge that don’t „mirror what’s truly occurring onboard.“
However even when system knowledge suggests in any other case, the spacecraft’s antenna appears to be correctly aligned – it’s receiving and executing instructions from NASA and sending knowledge again to Earth. It mentioned that to this point the system difficulty hasn’t triggered the getting older spacecraft to enter „secure mode,“ throughout which it carries out solely important operations.
„Till the character of the difficulty is healthier understood, the group can not anticipate whether or not this would possibly have an effect on how lengthy the spacecraft can accumulate and transmit science knowledge,“ NASA mentioned.
Dodd and her group hope to determine what’s prompting the robotic emissary from Earth to ship junky knowledge.
„There are some huge challenges for the engineering group,“ Dodd mentioned.
A significant one: It takes gentle 20 hours and 33 minutes to get to Voyager’s present interstellar location, so a round-trip message between the house company and Voyager takes two days.
„However I believe if there is a strategy to remedy this difficulty with the AACS, our group will discover it,“ Dodd added.
This text was initially printed by Enterprise Insider.
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