Mysterious signals from the space probe Voyager 1 baffled NASA scientists – teach me about science

More than 45 years after its launch, the twin spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 They continue their journey away from our solar system. NASA announced Recently, as scientists working with Voyager 1 try to solve a mystery, the spacecraft is sending out strange data that baffles the team.

The interstellar spacecraft operates normally, receiving and carrying out commands from Earth, as well as collecting and returning scientific data. NASA officials explain that the readings from the probe’s Attitude and Expression Control System (AACS) do not reflect what is actually happening on board.

This means that something may be wrong with Voyager 1’s Expression and Attitude Control System, or AACS, which is necessary to transmit data about its interstellar environment as it keeps the spacecraft’s antenna pointed directly at Earth. However, the data sent by AACS does not appear to match the motions and direction of the spacecraft.

“Everything indicates that AACS is still working, but the telemetry data it shows is invalid. For example, the data may appear to be randomly generated, or not reflect any possible state that AACS might be in.” Read the statement.

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, shown in this illustration, has been exploring our solar system since 1977, along with its twin Voyager 2. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Curiously enough, the problem did not trigger any failure-safe system on board the ship, which is designed to put the ship in “safe mode”. Voyager 1 appears to be confused about its position in space without entering safe mode. According to NASA, the signal from their spacecraft has not weakened either, indicating that the high-gain antenna remains in its specified orientation with respect to Earth.

“An enigma like this is common at this point in the Voyager mission,” He said in a statement Susan Dodd, Voyager 1 and 2 project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The spacecraft is approximately 45 years old, far exceeding the expectations of mission planners. In addition, we are in interstellar space, a highly radioactive environment in which no spacecraft has flown before. So the engineering team faces huge challenges. But I think if there is a way to solve this problem with AACS, our team will find it.”

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Voyager 1 is currently located 23.3 billion kilometers from our planet, and it takes light 20 hours and 33 minutes to travel that huge distance. So figuring out what’s going on will take a few days, because just sending a message and getting a response takes about two days.

Currently, it is not yet known whether this will affect the future of the mission or whether the spacecraft will be able to continue to transmit scientific data. The team will continue to monitor the signal closely while continuing to determine whether the invalid data is coming directly from AACS or from another system involved in the production and transmission of telemetry data. On the other hand, the Voyager 2 twin, which is the same age, continues its trajectory normally.

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