NASA accidentally loses contact with legendary Voyager 2


An artist's concept of the Voyager 2 spacecraft
An artist’s idea of the Voyager 2 spacecraft NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA has misplaced contact with the legendary Voyager 2 spacecraft after “inadvertently” sending it a command that brought about the antenna to level 2 levels away from Earth.

The error signifies that Voyager 2, which launched in 1977 and is at the moment round 12.4 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) from Earth, is unable to obtain instructions or transmit information again to mission controllers.

“This alteration has interrupted communication between Voyager 2 and the bottom antennas of the Deep Area Community (DSN),” NASA explained. “Information being despatched by the spacecraft is not reaching the DSN, and the spacecraft is just not receiving instructions from floor controllers.”

NASA solely revealed the mishap on Friday regardless of shedding contact with the spacecraft seven days earlier.

The excellent news is {that a} reorientation maneuver that Voyager 2 performs a number of occasions a 12 months “ought to allow communication to renew,” the house company mentioned, including that it expects Voyager 2 to stay on its deliberate trajectory till then.

NASA’s trusty spacecraft has been flying by means of house for the final 46 years. In 1998, engineers turned off Voyager 2’s nonessential devices to allow it to preserve energy. Information from at the very least a few of the six devices nonetheless in operation ought to be capable to be obtained till at the very least 2025 — offered the communications hyperlink is reestablished in just a few months’ time, that’s.

Voyager 2 has visited all 4 gasoline big planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus — and is the one spacecraft to have visited Neptune and Uranus. Its flyby of Neptune in 1989 put it on a trajectory that delivered it to interstellar house in November 2018.

If the latest blunder has left you feeling involved in regards to the state of Voyager 1, which is nearly 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth after additionally launching in 1977, then relaxation assured — the spacecraft “continues to function usually,” NASA mentioned.

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