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Business News/ Science / NASA’s Voyager 1 sends first message in 5 months after space scientists restore technical glitch; details here
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NASA’s Voyager 1 sends first message in 5 months after space scientists restore technical glitch; details here

NASA’s Voyager 1 recently sent an update about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems for the first time in five months. For the first time since November, NASA is set to enable the spacecraft to yield science data again and resume operation.

NASA’s Voyager 1 become the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space on September 12, 2013. This artist rendering released by NASA shows Voyager 1 spacecraft barrelling through space. (AP)Premium
NASA’s Voyager 1 become the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space on September 12, 2013. This artist rendering released by NASA shows Voyager 1 spacecraft barrelling through space. (AP)

NASA’s Voyager 1, the most distant human-made spacecraft, recently sent an update about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems after a pause of nearly five months. 

The spacecraft resumed its function of sending usable data about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems for the first time in nine months. For the first time since November, the US space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is set to enable the spacecraft to yield science data again and resume operation.

Also read: NASA's spacecraft grabs 4.5 billion-year-old rocks from asteroid; Here's what it reveals about earliest signs of life

As per NASA's report, Voyager 1's last message was on November 14. However, the spacecraft continued to receive the space agency's commands and operate normally. 

Also read: Saturn’s ocean moon Enceladus appears to have 'ingredients' to support life: Report

Later, in March, it was discovered that the issue was tied to one of Voyager's three onboard computers, called the flight data subsystem (FDS). The FDS packages the science and engineering data before transmitting it to Earth.

The engineering team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Southern California discovered that the chip responsible for storing a portion of the FDS memory was not working, in which the FDS computer’s software code was also stored.

NASA said, “The loss of that code rendered the science and engineering data unusable. Unable to repair the chip, the team decided to place the affected code elsewhere in the FDS memory." The space agency further noted, “But no single location is large enough to hold the section of code in its entirety."

Also read: NASA Mars Mission: Space agency seeks cost-cutting solutions for Mars soil sample return amid budget trims

Subsequently, the mission controllers devised a plan to divide the affected code into sections and store those sections in different places in the FDS. A radio signal was sent to Voyager 1 on April 18. The mission flight team successfully received a message from the spacecraft on April 20, following certain modifications to the code that worked.

It is important to note that the Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, are the only spacecraft to ever fly in interstellar space.

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Published: 23 Apr 2024, 12:26 PM IST
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