That’s What I Call Tech Support! Voyager 1 is back #NASA #space

A computer from the mid 1970s had a glitch. If this was my machine, I’d be doomed, because who supports such old equipment? NASA does! At least, it does for the Voyager spacecraft. Even when the probe is 15 billion miles away, outside our Sun’s influence, traveling through the interstellar medium.

In May, 2022, Voyager 1 began reporting weird, garbled nonsense instead of telemetry data. Luckily, the radio signal from the ship remained strong and steady, which meant the antenna was still pointed at Earth, so NASA got to work.

Voyager actually has multiple ancient computers. One croaked years ago, but somehow got switched on again and was corrupting the outgoing data. NASA engineers sent a command to use the correct computer, and proper data is again arriving at Earth. They hope to figure out exactly what caused Voyager to switch computers in the first place, so the problem doesn’t return. Could have been cosmic radiation…

In December 2004, Voyager 1 crossed the termination shock, where the solar wind is slowed to subsonic speed. In 2010, the outward velocity of the solar wind dropped to zero, but the transition to interstellar space was not smooth. The zone is filled with giant magnetic bubbles (surprise!)

There’s lots more about the decades-long Voyager 1 mission on Wikipedia: click here.


4 thoughts on “That’s What I Call Tech Support! Voyager 1 is back #NASA #space

  1. I was expecting this to be the end for Voyager 1, and I honestly wouldn’t even have been too upset about it. It’s crazy that it’s lasted this long. And it’s even crazier to me that they managed to fix this problem and keep the mission going on longer!

    Liked by 2 people

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