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How NASA regained contact with Voyager 1, the spacecraft that has traveled further than any other

How NASA regained contact with Voyager 1, the spacecraft that has traveled further than any other

After 5 months of communication loss, Voyager 1 was able to send a correct message to Earth (NASA)

In the vastness of space, in what man does not know, there is an object made by his hands that has become the farthest he has ever traveled from Earth.

Victor Ingrassia

This is the Voyager 1 probe, which is located exactly 24,000 million kilometers away and continues to move farther every second, now traveling outside our solar system at a speed of about 61,500 kilometers per hour.

Thirty-five years after its launch in 1977, Voyager 1 has caused great concern among its operators at NASA, losing contact with our planet at the end of last year. Or rather, they were still in touch, but with indecipherable and meaningless messages, the result of a malfunction or failure of their computers.

It was precisely on November 14, 2023, after 11 years of interstellar space exploration and at a staggering distance of 24 billion kilometers from Earth, that the spacecraft’s binary code, a computer language made up of zeros and some used to communicate, no longer made sense to mission specialists. Who control it and send it various commands.

Scientists confirmed that the interstellar probe reached a distance of 1,000 astronomical units – 1 astronomical unit is the distance from the Sun to Earth – in the interstellar medium. This is about 10 times farther than the Voyager spacecraft. (Johns Hopkins APL)

NASA worked for 5 months to solve the problem of one of the three computers on board the old Voyager 1 spacecraft, called the Flight Data System (FDS), which was not communicating properly with one of the probe’s subsystems, called the drive. tmo).

The fact is that, according to experts, the FDS is designed to collect data from scientific instruments, as well as engineering data on the health and condition of the spacecraft. It then combines that information into a single “package” of data that the TMU sends back to Earth. Data is in the form of ones and zeros, or binary code. Variable sets of two numbers are the basis of all computer languages.

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