TechNASA's Voyager 1 probe faces mysterious malfunctions

NASA's Voyager 1 probe faces mysterious malfunctions

Will it be possible to solve the problems with the Voyager 1 probe?
Will it be possible to solve the problems with the Voyager 1 probe?
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4:11 PM EDT, March 17, 2024

The Voyager probe has been presenting NASA scientists with significant challenges since November of the previous year, as they started receiving signals that were difficult to understand. However, months of investigative work seem to be bearing fruit, and there's now a promising chance of pinpointing and possibly remedying the issue.

The unmanned space probe, Voyager 1, was sent off into space on September 5, 1977. Its expedition carries on, but towards the end of last year, the team noticed issues with the probe's radio signal, especially its position data sent back to Earth.

For months, scientists have been analyzing the situation in hopes of identifying the problem. NASA is optimistic about achieving a breakthrough soon.

So far, the analysis suggests that the flight data system on one of Voyager's three onboard computers might have been compromised. "Although the probe receives and executes commands from Earth without issue, the FDS is not properly communicating with another essential component, the telemetry modulation unit," reports the TVN24 portal.

Efforts by NASA scientists and engineers to resolve this issue have yet to yield the desired outcomes. A key strategy involves comparing the FDS data sent to Earth before and after the malfunction emerged, aiming to pinpoint the source of the problem.

Identifying and fixing the cause will be incredibly challenging, especially given Voyager's vast distance from Earth—over 14 billion miles. Signals from Earth take 22 hours to reach the probe, and it takes another 22 hours to receive a response. There's also a possibility that the problem may not be fixable.

Voyager's journey exceeded initial expectations

Originally intended to explore Jupiter and Saturn and their moons, Voyager 1 shifted its focus to the study of interstellar space after completing these missions.

Voyager 1 has been traversing space for over 46 years. In 2013, it became the first Earth-made object to cross the boundary known as the heliosphere, venturing into uncharted territory.

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