June 23, 2024

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NASA: Voyager spacecraft guidance system readings reveal 'impossible data'

NASA: Voyager spacecraft guidance system readings reveal ‘impossible data’

engineering team in Container Investigate a mystery that occurred on the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

Voyager 1 is the furthest man-made object, having been launched 44 years ago. Currently, it is running on edge Solar Systemflying across the “interstellar medium” behind the effect Sun.

However, scientists have found that the spacecraft receives and successfully executes commands from Earth, but the AACS (Expression and Attitude Control System) probe readings do not reflect what is actually happening aboard Voyager 1.

The system controls the orientation of the spacecraft by keeping its antenna precisely pointed in the direction Earth So that data from it can be sent to NASA. While all indications are that the AACS system is operating normally, the telemetry data it sends back appears to be randomly generated and does not reflect any possible state the system could be in.

Also, the problem did not trigger any failover system that could put the Voyager into safe mode, nor did the signal weaken, indicating that the antenna was still in its normal position, pointing toward Earth.

NASA says it will continue to monitor the situation because it is possible that another system is producing invalid data, but says it does not understand why this is happening or how long this problem could persist. It takes about two days for a message from Earth to reach Voyager and to get a response from the spacecraft.

“An enigma like this is natural at this point in the Voyager mission,” said Susan Dodd, Voyager 1 and 2 project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. California.

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The spacecraft is approximately 45 years old, much older than mission planners expected. We are also in interstellar space, a highly radioactive environment in which no spacecraft has flown before. So there are some big challenges for the engineering team. But I think if there is a way to solve this problem with AACS, our team will find it.”

There’s a chance that NASA won’t find the source of the problem and instead have to make software changes or use one of the spacecraft’s backup systems, something it’s done before in 2017 when Voyager had to change primary thrusters to secondary ones due to signs of deterioration.