Voyager 2 Is Going Solo for the Next 11 Months

NASA is performing upgrades to its deep house communication system, which can go away the Voyager 2 probe with out instructions from Earth for 11 months. The plan is so as to add new capabilities to NASA’s Deep Area Community (DSN), which requires taking the system offline. Throughout this time, Voyager 2 will proceed to discover interstellar house and to ship information again to Earth. Nevertheless, technicians gained’t have the ability to ship any instructions to the spacecraft.

Voyager 2 did not too long ago undergo a glitch which precipitated it to make use of an excessive amount of energy after a failed rotation maneuver. Nevertheless, that problem was mounted and the craft is now working as regular.

A quiescent state

Now, in preparation for the upgrades to the Deep Area Community, NASA engineers will put Voyager 2 right into a “quiescent state,” by which it doesn’t anticipate to obtain indicators and however can ship science information again to Earth.

An artist's concept depicts one of NASA's Voyager spacecraft entering interstellar space
This artist’s idea depicts one in every of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft getting into interstellar house, or the house between stars. Interstellar house is dominated by the plasma, or ionized gasoline, that was ejected by the dying of close by large stars tens of millions of years in the past. NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We put the spacecraft again right into a state the place it is going to be simply effective, assuming that all the things goes usually with it in the course of the time that the antenna is down,” Suzanne Dodd, Voyager venture supervisor and JPL Director for the Interplanetary Community, stated in an announcement. “If issues don’t go usually — which is at all times a risk, particularly with an getting older spacecraft — then the onboard fault safety that’s there can deal with the scenario.”

To choose up information from Voyager 2, three 111-foot antennas have been configured to hear for its indicators. Elsewhere within the community, the 70-meter-wide (230-feet) radio antenna in Canberra, Australia will probably be upgraded to make it extra delicate and extra dependable. “Clearly, the 11 months of repairs places extra constraints on the opposite DSN websites,” stated Jeff Berner, Deep Area Community’s chief engineer. “However the benefit is that after we come again, the Canberra antenna will probably be way more dependable.”

With the upgrades carried out, the DSM will even have the ability to help future NASA missions such because the deliberate Moon to Mars venture. “The upkeep is required to help the missions that NASA is growing and launching sooner or later, in addition to supporting the missions which might be working proper now,” Dodd stated.

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