Earth to Voyager 2: After a 12 months within the Darkness, We Can Discuss to You Once more

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“I believe there was most likely a giant sigh of aid there,” Mr. Nagle stated. “And we had been more than happy to have the ability to affirm that the spacecraft was nonetheless speaking to us.”

The work bought excessive marks from NASA officers in the USA.

“The DSN people in Canberra did a exceptional job below the pandemic situations simply to improve DSS 43,” stated Suzanne Dodd, the Voyager mission mission supervisor and director of the Interplanetary Community Directorate on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “I’ve bought one hundred pc confidence in that antenna, that it’s going to function simply superb for just a few extra a long time. Long gone when the Voyagers are finished.”

Each Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 maintain the data for the farthest a spacecraft has ever traveled and for the longest working mission. Voyager 2 has had just a few hiccups through the years, however it’s nonetheless feeling its manner round at nighttime, making discoveries in regards to the boundaries that separate our photo voltaic system from the remainder of the Milky Means galaxy.

“I’ve seen scientists whose backgrounds are in astrophysics now Voyager knowledge and making an attempt to match that up with knowledge they’ve from ground-based telescopes or different space-based telescopes,” Ms. Dodd stated. “That’s sort of thrilling to go from a planetary mission to the heliophysics mission and now, virtually into an astrophysics mission.”

Whereas Voyager 2 retains chugging alongside, Ms. Dodd and her colleagues are making ready to change off one in every of its scientific sensors, the Low Power Charged Particle instrument. Doing so will be certain that the spacecraft’s restricted energy provide can preserve its different methods, significantly its communications antenna, heat sufficient to operate.

Whereas that can cut back the spacecraft’s scientific output, the primary purpose now could be longevity.

“The problem is just not within the new know-how, or the nice discoveries,” Ms. Dodd stated. “The problem is in preserving it working so long as doable, and returning the science knowledge so long as doable.”

The group estimates that each spacecraft can function for one more 4 to eight years, and NASA final yr granted the group three extra years of flying time.

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