Voyager 1 Plane Has Trouble In Interstellar Space

Voyager 1 is now 23.3 billion kilometers from Earth.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, KALIFORNIA — The American Space Agency (NASA) Voyager 1 mission launched in 1977 has passed interstellar space in 2012 and continues to run. The spacecraft is now 23.3 billion kilometers from Earth.

Even though Voyager 1 still operating properly, scientists on a recent mission noticed that Voyager 1 seems confused about his location in space without going into safe mode or sounding an alarm.

“Mystery like this is equivalent to traveling at this stage of the Voyager mission,” said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA in California, reported by SpaceThursday (19/5/2022).

“The spacecraft is nearly 45 years old, far beyond what mission planners had anticipated,” Dodd said.

“We’re also in interstellar space—a high-radiation environment that a spacecraft has never flown before.”

The error relates to Voyager 1’s articulation and attitude control system, or AACS, which keeps the spacecraft and its antennas in the proper orientation. AACS appears to be working well, as the spacecraft takes orders, acts on those orders, and sends science data back to Earth with the same signal strength as usual.

However, the AACS transmits the spacecraft’s waste handling telemetry data. NASA’s statement did not specify when the trouble started or how long it lasted.

The agency said that Voyager personnel will continue to investigate this issue and seek to correct or adapt to it. That’s a slow process, as signals from Earth currently take 20 hours 33 minutes to reach Voyager 1.

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Meanwhile, probe Voyager 2 twins, also launched in 1977, behaved normally. The power that the twin spaceships can produce is always going down. Mission team members have turned off several components to conserve electrical energy. These steps are expected to make probe work at least until 2025.

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