NASA determining mysterious readings from interstellar spacecraft Voyager 1

Washington, Might 21

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has been exploring the cosmos for almost half a century and now, NASA engineers are baffled at mysterious readings coming from the ageing interstellar plane.

The interstellar explorer is working usually, receiving and executing instructions from the Earth, together with gathering and returning science knowledge.

“However readouts from the probe’s perspective articulation and management system (AACS) don’t replicate what’s really taking place onboard,” NASA stated in a press release.

Whereas the spacecraft continues to return science knowledge and in any other case function as regular, the mission workforce is trying to find the supply of a system knowledge challenge.

“All indicators recommend the AACS remains to be working, however the telemetry knowledge it’s returning is invalid. For example, the information could seem like randomly generated, or doesn’t replicate any attainable state the AACS may very well be in,” stated the US area company.

Voyager 1’s sign hasn’t weakened, which suggests the high-gain antenna stays in its prescribed orientation with Earth.

At a distance of 14.5 billion miles from Earth, Voyager 1 is the farthest human-made object in area (it takes mild 20 hours and 33 minutes to journey that distinction).

Which means it takes roughly two days to ship a message to Voyager 1 and get a response – a delay the mission workforce is nicely accustomed to.

“The workforce will proceed to observe the sign intently as they proceed to find out whether or not the invalid knowledge is coming instantly from the AACS or one other system concerned in producing and sending telemetry knowledge,” stated NASA.

Till the character of the problem is healthier understood, the workforce can’t anticipate whether or not this would possibly have an effect on how lengthy the spacecraft can gather and transmit science knowledge.

“A thriller like that is kind of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission,” stated Suzanne Dodd, mission supervisor for Voyager 1 and a pair of at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

“We’re additionally in interstellar area – a high-radiation surroundings that no spacecraft have flown in earlier than. So there are some massive challenges for the engineering workforce. However I feel if there’s a technique to resolve this challenge with the AACS, our workforce will discover it,” Dodd stated.

It’s attainable the workforce could not discover the supply of the anomaly and can as a substitute adapt to it, Dodd stated.

In the event that they do discover the supply, they are able to resolve the problem by means of software program modifications or probably through the use of one of many spacecraft’s redundant {hardware} methods.

Voyager 1’s twin, Voyager 2 (presently 12.1 billion miles, or 19.5 billion km, from the Earth), continues to function usually.

Launched in 1977, each Voyagers have operated far longer than mission planners anticipated, and are the one spacecraft to gather knowledge in interstellar area.

The knowledge they supply from this area has helped drive a deeper understanding of the heliosphere, the diffuse barrier the Solar creates across the planets in our photo voltaic system.

Every spacecraft produces about 4 fewer watts {of electrical} energy a 12 months, limiting the variety of methods the craft can run. — IANS

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