Voyager 1 in trouble? NASA studies strange signals outside the solar system

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Voyager 1 was launched in September 1977, 16 days after Voyager 2 took off. However, there is no confusion in the nomenclature here. Voyager 1 – even though it flew second – surpassed the twin spacecraft and decades later religion in August 2012, he crossed the heliopause, or symbolic border Solar system.

Voyager 1 has been in the interstellar space for 10 years, but – despite its age – is still operational. Currently, it is away from the Earth by a record 23.3 billion km, i.e. over 20.5 light hours. For comparison, the Sun is on average just over 8 light minutes from our planet.

Voyager 1 is sending strange signals from the interstellar space

Now it turns out, however, that the probe may be in trouble. Voyager 1 is working properly, but it sends strange signals to Earth from the attitude articulation and control system (AACS). It is a system that analyzes the orientation of a ship in space so that, if necessary, scientists can decide to make the necessary correction.

Scientists are intrigued factthat the ship receives and carries out all commands from Earth, and that its research instruments are still collecting data and sending signals of adequate strength to Earth. This means that the Voyager antenna is most likely aimed exactly at Earth. NASA believes that AACS is working fine, but is sending incorrect telemetry to scientists for some reason.

Moreover, in the event of a failure, Voyager 1 systems should automatically initiate the procedure for switching the equipment into emergency mode. This time, however, nothing like that happened, and the probe seems to be working normally.

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The engineers in charge of the mission are not yet able to diagnose the source of the problem. It is also not known to what extent it is dangerous to Voyager itself. However, researchers are now to deal with the attempt to answer the question of what is responsible for data forgery from AACS and how can the defect be fixed. This may take some time, unfortunately, because the radio signals need 20 hours and 33 minutes to reach the probe. It takes exactly the same time for Voyager 1 to respond.

As Suzanne Dodd, Voyager 1 and 2 Manager, points out, both probes for 45 years work have done far more than expected. “We are in interstellar space – a high-radiation environment in which no spacecraft has flown before. So engineers face major challenges. But I think if there is a way to solve the AACS problem, our team will find it,” Dodd said.

More interesting facts about space can be found at Gazeta.pl

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