NASA by chance loses contact with legendary Voyager 2


An artist’s idea of the Voyager 2 spacecraft NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA has misplaced contact with the legendary Voyager 2 spacecraft after “inadvertently” sending it a command that precipitated the antenna to level 2 levels away from Earth.

The error implies that Voyager 2, which launched in 1977 and is at the moment round 12.four billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) from Earth, is unable to obtain instructions or transmit knowledge again to mission controllers.

“This modification has interrupted communication between Voyager 2 and the bottom antennas of the Deep Area Community (DSN),” NASA defined. “Knowledge being despatched by the spacecraft is now not reaching the DSN, and the spacecraft shouldn’t be receiving instructions from floor controllers.”

NASA solely revealed the mishap on Friday regardless of dropping contact with the spacecraft seven days earlier.

The excellent news is {that a} reorientation maneuver that Voyager 2 performs a number of occasions a 12 months “ought to allow communication to renew,” the house company mentioned, including that it expects Voyager 2 to stay on its deliberate trajectory till then.

NASA’s trusty spacecraft has been flying by house for the final 46 years. In 1998, engineers turned off Voyager 2’s nonessential devices to allow it to preserve energy. Knowledge from a minimum of among the six devices nonetheless in operation ought to have the ability to be acquired till a minimum of 2025 — supplied the communications hyperlink is reestablished in a couple of months’ time, that’s.

Voyager 2 has visited all 4 fuel large planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus — and is the one spacecraft to have visited Neptune and Uranus. Its flyby of Neptune in 1989 put it on a trajectory that delivered it to interstellar house in November 2018.

If the current blunder has left you feeling involved concerning the state of Voyager 1, which is nearly 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth after additionally launching in 1977, then relaxation assured — the spacecraft “continues to function usually,” NASA mentioned.

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