NASA has restored contact with Voyager 2, the spacecraft that has been exploring interstellar space for more than 40 years. The spacecraft lost contact on June 29, 2023, after controllers sent the wrong command to its antenna, which caused it to tilt away from Earth. NASA engineers were able to correct the mistake and re-point the antenna on Wednesday. On Friday, they received a signal from Voyager 2, confirming that the spacecraft was once again communicating with Earth.
“We’re thrilled to have Voyager 2 back in touch,” said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology. “This is a testament to the incredible engineering that went into building and operating this spacecraft.”
Voyager 2 was launched in 1977 as part of NASA’s Voyager program. The twin spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, were designed to explore the outer solar system and beyond. Voyager 1 is currently the farthest human-made object from Earth, and it is expected to continue traveling through interstellar space for billions of years.
Voyager 2’s journey has been remarkable. It has flown past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and it has sent back data that has revolutionized our understanding of these planets and their moons. The spacecraft has also detected the first interstellar plasma, which is a type of charged gas that exists between stars.
The restoration of contact with Voyager 2 is a major milestone for the spacecraft and for NASA. It shows that the Voyager program is still going strong, and it gives us hope that Voyager 2 will continue to send back data for many years to come.
Here is a tweet about Voyager 2.
How the Contact Was Restored?
The loss of contact with Voyager 2 was caused by a mistake that was made by controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). On July 20, the controllers sent a command to Voyager 2 that was intended to adjust the orientation of the spacecraft’s antenna. However, the command was incorrect, and it caused the antenna to tilt away from Earth.
This meant that Voyager 2 was no longer able to send or receive signals from Earth. The spacecraft was still operating normally, but it was effectively out of contact with us. NASA engineers worked quickly to correct the mistake. They developed a new command that would re-point the antenna back towards Earth. On Wednesday, they sent this command to Voyager 2, and it was successfully executed.
On Friday, NASA received a signal from Voyager 2, confirming that the spacecraft was once again communicating with Earth. The signal was weak, but it was clear that the spacecraft was back in business.
What This Means for Voyager 2?
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The Future of Voyager 2
Voyager 2 is expected to continue traveling through interstellar space for billions of years. It is possible that the spacecraft will eventually reach another star system, but it is more likely that it will continue to travel through the vast emptiness of space.
The Voyager program is a remarkable achievement, and it is a testament to the ingenuity of human beings. Voyager 2 has shown us that there is much more to learn about our universe, and it has inspired us to continue exploring the stars. Stay tuned to Digital News Expert for more updates.