July 6, 2022

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NASA is trying to solve the mystery of strange signals from Voyager 1

NASA is trying to solve the mystery of strange signals from Voyager 1

| Astronomy / Physics

NASA engineers responsible for the Voyager 1 probe in interstellar space, They are trying to solve the mystery of the unusual data sent by the car. Voyager 1 operates normally, receiving and executing commands from Earth, conducting scientific research, collecting data and sending it back to Earth. However, the readings from the AACS (Expression and Attitude Control System) do not reflect what is happening on board the probe.

AACS has been responsible for proper vehicle steering for 45 years. One of the system’s tasks is to ensure that Voyager 1’s predecessor is aimed exactly at Earth. Evidence is that the AACS system is working, but something is wrong with the telemetry data. Sometimes it looks like it’s randomly generated, other times it doesn’t reflect any state that AACS could get into.

Interestingly enough, the AACS issue did not trigger any of the security measures responsible for putting Voyager into a safe state. In this case, the car will perform only the necessary operations, giving the engineers enough time to diagnose the malfunction. However, nothing of the sort happened. Moreover, the signal from the probe has not lost its strength, which indicates that its antenna is precisely directed towards our planet.

Engineers analyze the signals in an effort to see if the remarkable data is coming directly from AACS or from another system involved in producing and transmitting telemetry data. At the moment, specialists cannot determine whether the observed problems may have a greater impact on Voyager’s operation and whether it will shorten its operating time.

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Puzzles like this are part of Voyager’s mission at this pointsays Susan Dodd, responsible for Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Both vehicles are approximately 45 years old and have been operating for much longer than planned. It is also located in interstellar space, in a place with high radiation, where no craft has flown before. This is a huge challenge for the engineering team. However, I believe our team will be able to handle the issue with AACS.

Mrs. Dodd does not rule out that the problem cannot be solved and that we have to get used to it. However, if the cause is found, you may need to make changes to the software or use one of Voyager’s backup systems. If this happens, it won’t be the first time Voyager 1 has used backup systems. In 2014, the craft’s main engines began to show signs of wear, so the spare engines previously used on interplanetary cruises were turned on. It turned out that these motors run smoothly, although they have not been used for 37 years.

Voyager 1 is currently located 23.3 billion km from Earth. Light travels this path in 20 hours 33 minutes. In order to realize how huge this distance is, it is enough to remember that it takes 8 minutes for the light from the Sun to reach the Earth.

Voyager 2 is working normally. It is located 19.5 billion km from Earth.

Both Voyagers were launched in 1977. They last much longer than planned. They are the only man-made vehicles to reach interstellar space. give us Invaluable information On the heliosphere, the barrier by which the sun protects the solar system. He wasn’t sure at all if they would get there. 12 years ago, we described concerns about Voyager 1 reaches the heliosphere and meets the shock arc.

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Each year, the vehicle’s power output capacity is reduced by about 4 watts. Therefore, over the years, the individual components to provide power to major scientific instruments and necessary systems have been phased out. Thanks to deliberate actions, no scientific device has yet been turned off. NASA engineers want Voyager to continue operating in 2026.

Voyager 1 AACS signal