NASA Attempts To Fix Voyager 1 Spacecraft Over Extremely Vast Distance

( – Over the past several decades, NASA has been committed to space exploration, even beyond what we know already. In 1977, it launched probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, sending them into the depths of the solar system. It took 35 years, but Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in 2012. Voyager 2 joined it in 2018. Over the years, NASA scientists have received messages from Voyager 1 about the unexplored region, but last November, the messages coming in no longer made sense. They spent months troubleshooting and it seems they’ve finally fixed the problem.

Scientists have counted on the readings from Voyager 1 for more than 40 years. When the messages seemingly glitched, they immediately jumped into troubleshooting mode to determine what the problem was. However, they were limited. There’s no way to physically reach the probe, so it had to be done remotely.

Over the past five months, a small NASA team has been working to determine and fix the problem with Voyager 1. They were able to isolate the issue to a memory chip problem in one of its onboard computers, known as a flight data subsystem. From there, they modified the software code to restore its capabilities. Then, on Monday, April 22, NASA announced the probe was “returning usable data about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems.” Now, the team is working on “enabl[ing] the spacecraft to begin returning science data again.”

Now, NASA is planning to get that in motion over the coming weeks. It can take a bit to determine if fixes work because it takes 22.5 hours for a radio signal to reach the probe and the same time for it to send a signal back to Earth. The space agency noted that Voyager 2 continues to “operate normally.” Scientists reasonably expect the probes to work for a few more years and send back critical data about their exploration in a previously uncharted area.

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