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Voyager 1 Resumes Science Data Transmission After Computer Issue.


Voyager 1 has resumed returning science data from two of its four instruments for the first time since a computer issue arose in November 2023. The mission’s science teams are now working to recalibrate the remaining two instruments, with plans to do so in the coming weeks. This marks significant progress toward restoring the spacecraft to normal operations.

After five months of troubleshooting, the mission was able to begin receiving usable engineering data about the health and status of Voyager 1’s onboard systems in April. On May 17, commands were sent to the 46-year-old spacecraft to resume sending science data back to Earth. Given Voyager 1’s distance of over 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth, it takes light more than 22 1/2 hours to travel each way, requiring nearly two days to confirm the success of the commands.

The plasma wave subsystem and magnetometer instrument are now returning usable science data. Efforts are ongoing to restore the cosmic ray subsystem and low energy charged particle instrument. The spacecraft has six additional instruments that are either no longer functional or were deactivated following its flyby of Saturn.

Voyager 1’s operations were interrupted last year when it began transmitting a signal devoid of science or engineering data. The issue was traced to a small portion of corrupted memory in the flight data subsystem, one of the spacecraft’s three computers. This system packages data from the science instruments and engineering data about the spacecraft’s health and status before sending it to Earth.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, will celebrate 47 years of operations this year. They are NASA’s longest-operating spacecraft and the only ones to explore outside the heliosphere—a bubble of magnetic fields and solar wind created by the Sun that interacts with the interstellar medium. Both probes conducted flybys of Jupiter and Saturn, with Voyager 2 also visiting Uranus and Neptune.

Surendra Uikey

My name is Surendra Uikey, I am a science blogger, I have been blogging for the past three years, because I love to write, especially on astronomy, and I believe, if you want to learn something, then start learning others, By this it will be, that you learn things in a better way. In 2019, I started, the aim of making was to connect astronomy in simple words to common people.

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