NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe, billions of miles from Earth, has sent back some puzzling data about the planet.
The NASA Voyager 1 space probe was launched 45 years ago and continues its journey far beyond our Solar System to study the exosphere and the interstellar environment. So, how far is Voyager 1 from Earth? According to Space.com, it has traveled 14.5 billion miles (23.3 billion kilometers). It is an iconic probe and has sent back vital data to NASA since launch. But now, strange new data sent back by Voyager from the edge of the Solar System has shocked scientists because so far no significant errors have been reported by the probe! Because Voyager 1’s data is of paramount importance, the engineering team is trying to solve the mysterious data sent back by the space probe.
“The Interstellar Explorer is operating normally, receiving and executing commands from Earth, and collecting and returning scientific data. But readings from the probe’s Attitude Analysis and Control System (AACS) do not reflect what is actually happening on board. ” NASA said in a statement. But what does the data received back to earth really mean? Also Read: Closest Sun Photograph Ever; Solar Orbiter Sees Sola Flares, ‘Hedgehog’, More
NASA says an antenna attached to Voyager, which is pointed at Earth to send data back, appears to be working but is sending back invalid data. AACS controls the orientation of the 45-year-old spacecraft. Among other tasks, it keeps Voyager 1’s high-gain antenna correctly oriented toward Earth, allowing it to send data home. All indications are that AACS is still working, but the telemetry data it returns is invalid. For example, the data may be randomly generated or not reflect any state the AACS may be in. Also Read: Avoidable Tragedy! NASA cancels spacewalks after water gets on astronaut’s helmet
Thankfully, the problem with NASA Voyager 1 didn’t trigger any of the onboard fault protection systems. The system is designed to keep the spacecraft in “safe mode” maintaining only essential operations, while also giving engineers time to analyze and diagnose problems. Not only that, even Voyager 1’s signals are not attenuated, which indicates that the high gain antenna remains in its specified direction with respect to Earth.