Voyager 1 is fully operational again

Al 47 jaar operationeel: Voyager 1 werkt weer op volle kracht

Voyager 1, the space probe launched by NASA 47 years ago, is back in full operation again. Voyager 1 has had technical issues since November last year. After some technical tinkering, NASA was able to partially repair the equipment in April, but now all the science instruments are working again.

In November 2023, Voyager 1 began transmitting meaningless information to Earth, instead of useful scientific information. Recovering the probe wasn’t easy: Voyager 1 is about 15 billion miles from Earth and nearly half a century old.

It took six months to partially solve the problem. First we had to know what the problem was. After a full read of Voyager 1’s memory, it was found that the code on the probe’s chip had been corrupted. Restoring the chip was impossible, so it was decided to move the code to different corners of the system.

All tools are working again

The reprogramming process took six months. On April 18, the new code was sent to Voyager 1. Due to the probe’s distance from Earth, the update took 22.5 hours to reach its destination. Only after 22.5 seconds did NASA know that the solution had worked. Voyager 1 communicated with Earth again.

But that was not the end of the story. Although Voyager 1 has stopped talking nonsense, collecting and reading scientific information is still not possible. In May, NASA was able to get the first two of its four science instruments up and running again. A month later, the other two started working again. NASA let us know press release.

Interstellar space

Now that the spacecraft is fully operational again, there are still some simple problems to solve, such as resynchronizing the internal clocks of the onboard computers. But that’s child’s play compared to reprogramming a device located far beyond the farthest planet in our solar system.

Voyager 1, along with its twin brother Voyager 2, is the only spacecraft outside the heliosphere. This is the “bubble” of charged particles that the Sun emits. The spacecraft exists in interstellar space and collects valuable information about it that cannot be collected by any other device.

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