NASA engineers uncover the reason for Voyager 1 transmitting unintelligible signals beyond our solar system


NASA engineers uncover the reason for Voyager 1 transmitting unintelligible signals beyond our solar system

For the past five months, NASA has been receiving unintelligible signals from the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Despite the spacecraft’s regular radio signals sent as it moves away from our solar system, the data suddenly became garbled in November 2023. Scientists were left puzzled about the cause of this issue until engineers sent a command prompt to the craft’s flight data subsystem in March.

After decoding the spacecraft’s response, engineers discovered that the FDS memory had been corrupted. NASA suspects that a single chip responsible for storing part of the affected memory may not be working, possibly due to an energetic particle from space or simply wearing out after 46 years. While it may take some time, engineers are confident they can find a solution to work around the fried chip and restore the spacecraft’s messaging capabilities.

Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 and has since passed by Saturn and Jupiter before entering interstellar space in 2012. It is currently collecting data on the conditions outside the sun’s protective magnetic field, more than 15 billion miles away from Earth. Despite the distance, it takes 22.5 hours for any radio signals to reach our planet from the spacecraft.

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