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The Voyager 1 space probe faces a “serious problem,” according to the mission head

The Voyager 1 space probe faces a “serious problem,” according to the mission head

An alarming situation

In December, NASA clarified that sending scientific or technical data was no longer possible on board the probe. The only messages Earth receives from Voyager 1 are meaningless. Instead of sending messages in binary code, the probe now only sends 1's and 0's alternately. The problem appears to be with the on-board computer. However, Voyager 1 is capable of receiving and executing commands sent from Earth.

Honestly, I'm very worried said Stamatios Kremigis, an astronomer and specialist on the LECP (Low Energy Particle Sensor) instrument on Voyager 1 and 2. She has pretty much stopped speaking to us coherently. This is a serious problem Susan Dodd, Voyager 1 mission chief since 2020 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, added.

You should know that both Voyager probes are powered by plutonium. An energy system that will unfortunately eventually run out. Mission managers have already turned off heaters to save energy and extend the life of Voyager's probes.

Hard attempts

Therefore, the usual treatments were implemented to solve this type of problem, but they were not successful. So members of Susan Dodd's team are trying to decipher the contents of old, yellowed instruction manuals from the time they were created. The concern is that even if the NASA team on Earth finds a solution to the problem, getting the solution to the probe could take at least a day because it is now so far away from Earth, more than 15 billion miles (or 24 miles). billion km).

“They are working hard to try to understand what the original developers had in mind, why they designed Voyager 1 the way they did, and what we can try that might give us answers.”Dodd said.

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However, the team will not give up: “We will keep trying”Susan Dodd confirmed, “But it won't be fast.”

Voyager mission

Basically, you should have known that Voyager was leaving on a four-year mission. The plane took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1977.

Today, the fact that the probe is suffering from malfunctions completely hampers the mission. He explains: “We have not obtained any scientific data since the beginning of this anomalous situation.” Stella Okker, astronomer from Caltech and Carnegie Observatories. “This means that we do not know what the environment in which the spacecraft is traveling looks like.”

source : NPR