Dienstag, August 2, 2022
StartSpaceVoyager 1 thriller: Sending random information

Voyager 1 thriller: Sending random information


Artist’s idea of the robotic spacecraft Voyager 1. Some name it and its companion craft, Voyager 2, the little spacecraft that might. Launched from Earth in 1977, the pair is past the sphere of our solar’s affect, nonetheless heading outward. However now Voyager 1 has began sending again thriller information. Picture by way of NASA.

Mysterious information from Voyager 1

Voyager 1, which launched in 1977, is a few 14.5 billion miles (23 billion km) from Earth. Scientists say it’s past our photo voltaic system, in interstellar house. The 45-year-old probe has been a mannequin of endurance, persevering with to ship again information utilizing decades-old know-how. However on Might 18, 2022, NASA introduced that Voyager 1 has been sending again mysterious information. The probe’s angle articulation and management system (its AACS) has the job of controlling the spacecraft’s orientation, pointing its excessive acquire antenna towards Earth and controlling angle maneuvers. Now the AACS has despatched again information that doesn’t replicate what’s taking place aboard Voyager. NASA defined:

… the information could seem like randomly generated, or doesn’t replicate any doable state the AACS may very well be in.

Diagram: stretched blue bubble around solar system, with red gaseous wisps outside, and Voyagers outside the bubble.
Voyager 1 is alleged to have sailed out of our photo voltaic system in 2012, when it crossed the heliopause – or boundary of our solar’s affect – into interstellar house. Picture by way of NASA.

A 2-day spherical journey message time

For essentially the most half, Voyager 1 nonetheless seems to be working accurately, gathering and returning science information. It’s receiving and executing instructions from Earth, though – due to its nice distance from us – it takes about two days to ship a message and get a response. As a result of we’re nonetheless in communication with Voyager 1, we all know the antenna remains to be pointing towards us, whatever the unusual nature of the telemetry information readings.

NASA stated:

The crew will proceed to watch the sign carefully because it continues to find out whether or not the invalid information is coming straight from the AACS or one other system concerned in producing and sending telemetry information. Till the character of the problem is best understood, the crew can’t anticipate whether or not this may have an effect on how lengthy the spacecraft can acquire and transmit science information.

Star map with constellations, labeled stars, and dot indicating location of spacecraft.
Voyager 1 is vastly too faint to see, even with essentially the most highly effective earthly telescopes. However – if we might see it – on Might 19, 2022, we’d discover it within the path of constellation of Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, which is ascending into our sky earlier than midnight presently of the yr, and excessive within the sky round daybreak. Picture by way of TheSkyLive.

Speaking with interstellar house

Voyager 1 is the most distant humanmade object from Earth. Working with a system that’s so distant – and that was designed so many many years in the past – presents many challenges, past simply the lag in communications. Suzanne Dodd, challenge supervisor for Voyager 1 and a couple of, commented:

A thriller like that is form of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission. The spacecraft are each nearly 45 years outdated, which is way past what the mission planners anticipated. We’re additionally in interstellar house: a high-radiation surroundings that no spacecraft have flown in earlier than. So there are some huge challenges for the engineering crew. However I feel if there’s a solution to clear up this subject with the AACS, our crew will discover it.

As soon as the crew finds the supply of the issue, engineers may be capable of clear up the problem via software program modifications, or by utilizing one of many spacecraft’s redundant {hardware} techniques. But when they will’t discover the supply of the issue, they could simply need to adapt to dwelling with the discrepancies.

Voyager 1’s journey has encountered obstacles earlier than. In 2017, the spacecraft’s major thrusters have been displaying indicators of damage and tear. The engineers switched to different thrusters on Voyager 1, thrusters that operated throughout the mission’s planetary encounters some 37 years earlier. It’s one other instance of the outstanding longevity and ingenious design of the Voyager spacecraft.

Backside line: Voyager 1, essentially the most distant humanmade object from Earth, has been sending again unusual information, a thriller scientists try to resolve.

Through NASA



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