Greetings, Earth! NASA can understand Voyager 1 again

Greetings, Earth!  NASA can understand Voyager 1 again

For the first time since November 2023, NASA is receiving meaningful communications from its Voyager 1 probe. The agency has spent months troubleshooting a glitch that causes the famed probe to send home messages that sound like garbled data rather than science. The investigation is now consistent, however According to NASAThe next step is to enable Voyager 1 to start returning usable scientific information again.

[Related: Voyager 1 is sending back bad data, but NASA is on it.]

Along with its twin Voyager 2, these probes are the only spacecraft to fly in interstellar space — or the region between the stars outside the Sun's influence. Both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes were launched in 1977. Their mission initially included detailed observations of Jupiter and Saturn, but continued to explore the outer reaches of the solar system. Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space in 2012. Voyager 2 followed Voyager 1 into interstellar space in 2018.

On November 14, 2023, Voyager 1 It stopped sending readable scientific and engineering data Back to Earth for the first time. Mission controllers could tell that the spacecraft was still receiving its commands and operating normally, so they were unsure why it was sending such incoherent information. In March, the Voyager engineering team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) confirmed that the problem was related to one of three computers on board the spacecraft, called Flight data subsystem (MSDS). The FDS collects scientific and engineering data before sending it to Earth so NASA can use it.

The team identified the code responsible for filling out the spacecraft's engineering data. The defect was in only one chip, which represents about 3% of the FDS memory. according to space. They couldn't fix the chip. we April 18JPL engineers migrated the code to other parts of FDS memory. This requires splitting the code into several sections to store them in multiple locations in the SDS. The code has been modified to work from multiple locations as one cohesive process and references have been updated to its new directories.

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“When the mission flight team heard back from the spacecraft on April 20, they saw that the modification had worked: for the first time in five months, they were able to verify the health and condition of the spacecraft.” NASA wrote in an update on April 22.

[Related: When Voyager 1 goes dark, what comes next?]

So far, the usable data returned so far relates to how the spacecraft's engineering systems work. The team is planning more software repair work in the next few weeks so that Voyager 1 can send back valuable scientific data about the outer reaches of the solar system that can be read back. As of now, Voyager 2 is still operating normally.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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