For months, the Voyager 1 has continued to send junk data regarding its current health status to flight controllers on Earth. NASA was struggling to understand the mystery data sent by the 45-year-old Voyager 1 from Interstellar Space.
After months of receiving junk data from the Voyager, NASA has finally begun to understand the telemetry data about the health status of the probe in interstellar space. The agency clearly understands that the unclear data problem was created in the Voyager 1 attitude articulation and control system (AACS).
This control system ensures that the spacecraft’s antenna keeps pointing towards Earth to enable scientists to receive clear data from Voyager 1. On Tuesday, 30 August, NASA officials announced the good news about the current state of Voyager 1.
“The AACS had started sending the telemetry data through an onboard computer known to have stopped working years ago, and the computer corrupted the information,” the officials stated. From this official statement, you will realize that the spacecraft is still collecting data from billions of miles away from earth.
As soon as NASA engineers realizes that the Voyager 1 was making use of a dead computer, they sent a command to the spacecraft to enable its AACS system to use the right computers in communicating with Earth. The radio signal sent to the probe actually took about 22 hours to reach the Voyager 1 probe. The signal took this long because the Voyager 1 spacecraft is currently exploring interstellar space at 14.6 billion miles (23.5 billion kilometers) from Earth as of August 30.
Keep in mind that the distance separating us from the Voyager is increasing by the second. As the Voyager 1 data glitch is finally solved, we should be expecting a clear signal from the space probe from now henceforth. But NASA is still trying to understand what actually caused the data glitch. The agency doesn’t want any interference with the signal they receive from the Voyager 1 space probe.
Voyager project manager, Suzanne Dodd, announced the milestone attained by NASA by stating, “We’re happy to have the telemetry back. We’ll do a full memory readout of the AACS and look at everything it’s been doing. That will help us try to diagnose the problem that caused the telemetry issue in the first place.”
On second thought, NASA engineers assume that the problem may have started when Voyager 1 started routing its data using the dead computer, and this may have been caused by a bad command the spacecraft received from another computer. This assumption made NASA scientists assume that another problem may be developing inside the Voyager 1 computer brains. However, the mission managers never saw this as a threat to the long-term health status of the spacecraft.
Keep in mind that NASA launched the Voyager 1 and 2 in 1977 to visit interstellar space. Voyager 1 successfully made it to interstellar space in 2012 while Voyager 2 reached the same milestone in 2018. But spacecraft are still operating 45 years after launch.
NASA is hopeful about getting more data from the twin probes before they finally stop transmitting data from interstellar space. The good news is that you can track the current state of Voyager 1 and 2 using this NASA tool. What do you think about this fascinating solution made by NASA to solve Voyager 1 data glitch?