NASA’s Voyager 1 workforce is attempting to determine why the spacecraft appears confused about its location in house, however the mission’s distance from Earth makes fixing the issue troublesome.
The Traveler 1 mission launched in 1977 with a theoretical lifespan of 5 years. Practically 45 years and a sequence of planetary flybys later, the spacecraft is now about 14.5 billion miles (23.3 billion kilometers) from Earth, exploring interstellar house. The spacecraft made numerous discoveries, but additionally suffered various anomalies and mysteries. The final of them is undesirable telemetry information despatched again to Earth.
“We’ve an issue with the Voyager 1 spacecraft,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA affiliate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, advised a gathering of the Area Research Council of the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering. and Drugs on Thursday, June 9, the place he offered extra particulars on the scenario and what it might imply for the mission.
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Whereas the spacecraft performs nicely, messages from Voyager’s articulation and angle management system, which retains the spacecraft and its antenna within the right orientation, “don’t mirror what is definitely occurring on board,” Zurbuchen stated.
Attending to the underside of this confusion is not straightforward, nonetheless, as a result of huge distance between Earth and Voyager 1, which implies lengthy delays within the time it takes to speak with Voyager 1, making the ship virtually house a sufferer of its longevity. “Think about having a dialog with somebody in which you’ll solely say one phrase on daily basis,” Zurbuchen stated. “And also you solely hear again each different day. That is the sort of dialogue we have now.”
Zurbuchen is assured that the Voyager workforce will resolve the thriller, however famous that the spacecraft can’t go on ceaselessly. Along with the present communication downside, Voyager 1 additionally operates in a lot colder temperatures than it was designed for as a result of decay of the spacecraft’s nuclear energy supply.
“I am not telling you that is the tip of this mission,” he identified, noting that the workforce behind the mission solved many issues over 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 workforce solved it,” he stated. “But in addition, if sooner or later it is not resolved, it is a right away success and we should always get away the champagne.”
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