The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (POT) is trying to solve a mystery after the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched 45 years ago in 1977, send telemetry data to planet Earth.
Through a statement, the POT noted that readings from the probe’s attitude control and articulation system (AACS) they do not reflect what is really happening on board.
NASA receives data
The AACS controls the orientation of the 45-year-old spacecraft. Among other tasks, it maintains the high-gain antenna of the Voyager 1 aiming precisely at the earthwhich allows you to send data, indicates NASA.
“All signs suggest that the AACS is still working, but the telemetry data it returns is invalid. For example, the data may appear to be randomly generated or does not reflect any possible state the AACS could be in.”
NASA clarifies that “the team will continue to monitor the signal closely as they continue to determine if the invalid data is coming directly from the AACS or of another system involved in the production and delivery of telemetry data”.
“Until the nature of the problem is better understood, the team cannot anticipate whether this could affect how long the spacecraft can collect and transmit science data.”
“A mystery like this is more or less normal at this stage of the Voyager mission,” said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager 1 and 2 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The NASA in Southern California.
NASA’s Voyager 1 is located more than 23 billion kilometers from Earth
The ship Voyager 1 is currently at 14.5 billion miles (23 thousand 300 million kilometers) from Earth, and light takes 20 hours and 33 minutes to travel that difference.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Voyager team investigates an anomaly: In 2017, Voyager 1’s main thrusters showed signs of degradation, so engineers switched to another set of thrusters that had originally been used during the spacecraft’s planetary encounters.
“Those thrusters worked, despite being unused for 37 years,” NASA explained.
“That means it takes about two days to send a message to Voyager 1 and get an answer, a delay that the mission team is very used to,” so investigation will continue to try to solve the ship’s problem.