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NASA Reestablishes Contact With Voyager 1 After Fixing 46-Year-Old Spacecraft


In a significant development, NASA engineers have managed to reestablish communication with Voyager 1, the furthest spacecraft from Earth.

What Happened: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced on Monday that the 46-year-old probe, currently over 15 billion miles away, has started transmitting intelligible data again, The Guardian reported. The spacecraft had been sending back indecipherable code since December.

The problem was traced back to one of the spacecraft’s three onboard computers, which is responsible for packaging the scientific and engineering data before it is sent back to Earth. The JPL team successfully relocated the corrupted code, a task made difficult due to the outdated technology.

The solution was transmitted from Earth on Apr. 18, but due to the vast distance, it took two days to verify its success.

“When the mission flight team heard back from the spacecraft on April 20, they saw that the modification worked,” JPL stated.

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Why It Matters: Voyager 1, launched in 1977, was originally intended for a five-year mission to study Jupiter and Saturn. However, it has greatly surpassed its initial objective, becoming the first human-made object to enter interstellar space in August 2012. Despite the recent hiccup, Voyager 1 has continued to function normally, and the team is now working to enable the spacecraft to send back scientific data.

These developments come at a time when NASA’s ability to launch astronauts into orbit has been called into question, with Elon Musk’s SpaceX being the only current viable option. This successful remote repair of Voyager 1 highlights NASA’s ongoing relevance and expertise in space exploration.

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Photo by L Galbraith on Shutterstock

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