NASA’s Voyager 1 staff is making an attempt to determine why the spacecraft seems to be confused about its location in house, however the mission’s distance from Earth makes fixing the issue difficult.
the traveler 1 mission launched in 1977 with a design life of 5 years. Virtually 45 years and a sequence of planetary flybys later, the spacecraft is now some 23.3 billion kilometers (14.5 billion miles) away. Land, exploring interstellar house. The spacecraft has made numerous discoveries, however has additionally suffered from a variety of anomalies and mysteries. The final of those is undesirable telemetry knowledge being despatched to Earth.
“We have now an issue with the Voyager 1 spacecraft,” Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, informed a gathering of the House Research Board of the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medication on Thursday ( June 9), the place he provided extra particulars concerning the scenario and what it might imply for the mission.
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Whereas the spacecraft is working positive, messages from Voyager’s Angle Articulation and Management System, which retains the spacecraft and its antenna within the correct orientation, “don’t replicate what is definitely taking place on board,” Zurbuchen mentioned.
Nevertheless, attending to the underside of this confusion will not be straightforward, because of the huge distance between Earth and Voyager 1, which implies big delays within the time it takes to speak with Voyager 1, nearly turning the spacecraft in a sufferer of his longevity. “Think about you’ve gotten a dialog with somebody the place you’ll be able to solely say one phrase on daily basis,” Zurbuchen mentioned. “And also you solely get a response each different day. That is the form of dialogue we’ve got.”
Zurbuchen is assured that the Voyager staff will resolve the thriller, however famous that the spacecraft cannot go on ceaselessly. Along with the present communications drawback, Voyager 1 can also be working in temperatures a lot colder than it was designed for because of decomposition of the spacecraft’s nuclear energy supply.
“I am not telling you it is the top of that mission,” he confused, noting that the staff behind the mission has addressed many technical points throughout Voyager’s lengthy life.
“Make no mistake, there have been points, even since I have been at NASA, that had been actually regarding about Voyager; the staff labored it out,” he mentioned. “But in addition, if in the future it isn’t mounted anymore, it is a direct hit and we should always escape the champagne.”
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