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Space

NASA ships communicated with Earth at a distance of 19 billion km

After seven months without command with the Voyager 2, NASA resumed communication by passing new instructions and procedures to the ship.

The Voyager 2 probe launched in August 1977 has been in space for over 43 years, visiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The NASA team has been performing repairs and updates since mid-March 2020 at the 43rd Deep Space Station in Canberra, Australia. This station is the only antenna in the world capable of communicating with a probe. This is due to the Voyager 2’s location in deep space, the position of the antenna in the southern hemisphere, and the fact that the antenna can communicate with the ship’s 1970s technology.

The operators carry out the necessary repairs on the antennas 70 m in diameter. One of the station’s two radio transmitters has not been updated for 47 years. On the night of October 29, operators transmitted a test signal to Voyager 2 flying in interstellar space. The ship reported again on the morning of November 2. Voyager 2 reported that it had received the signal and processed the order sent by the mission controller. According to Brad Arnold, project director for Deep Space Networks at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., The station’s device update will be complete by February 2021.

Voyager 2 became the second spacecraft to enter deep space in 2018 after Voyager 1 did so in 2012. Although the operator has not given orders to Voyager 2 for a long time due to of Covid-19, they continue to receive data from the probe’s sensor. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are both outside the heliosphere, a vacuum containing the magnetic field and particles generated by the Sun.

However, during the repair, if there were any issues with the ship, NASA did not have a way to transmit the signal fast enough to adjust the flight path. Because the systems onboard the Voyager 1 and 2 are too old, their memory is 200,000 times less than that of a smart mobile. Obsolete technology with low flexibility can become an obstacle to the longevity of a probe. “This may be one of the reasons the two ships have been around for so long, because they are so simple. The Voyager duo have an exceptional record. They are exceptionally durable,” said Suzanne Dodd, director advice. heads the interplanetary network JPL, director of the Voyager interstellar mission, comments.

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