The almost five-decade-old NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft – cruising outside the solar system – has sent back odd telemetry data and NASA fears the craft has developed a glitch.
The space probe is 23.3 billion km away from Earth.
NASA’s Voyager 1 Probe Experiences A Strange Glitch
NASA launched the Voyager 1 probe into space on September 5, 1977. The spacecraft was still going strong in 2022, having traveled 23.3 billion kilometers from Earth. Voyager 1 was the very first man-made object to pass the heliosphere, the sun’s barrier, and reach interstellar space in 2012.
Unfortunately, it appears that the spacecraft has begun to feel the effects of such a long journey, raising concerns for NASA. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered problems with Voyager 1’s attitude articulation and control system.
This program prevents the spacecraft’s direction and its elevated antenna precisely pointed at Earth, allowing data transfer. The agency discovered that the AACS readouts do not accurately reflect what is unfolding on board, despite the fact that the spacecraft is functioning properly and getting and running programs from Earth.
NASA also stated that the data sent by the spacecraft is random and inaccurate. Despite these challenges, Voyager keeps sending signals at the very same resilience as long as its high-gain antenna is directed correctly.
“A puzzle like this is kind of par for the course around at this step of the Voyager mission, but I trust our team will find a solution with the AACS.” As per Suzanne Dodd (Project Manager)
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 debuted in the same year, and have reached the heliosphere. Voyager 2 is presently 19.5 billion kilometers away, and both probes are expected to stay operational until 2025.