NASA Engineers are looking to fix an issue with one of the Voyager 1 computers. The craft is receiving and executing commands sent from Earth, but the FDS (flight data system) is not communicating property with one of the probe’s subsystems.
The Voyager 1 FDS is meant to collect data from the science instruments, as well as data about the health of the spacecraft. It then sends that data back to earth. Because of the current issue, none of this data is being sent back to Earth.
Scientists discovered this issue when the TMU (telecommunications unit) was transmitting a pattern of ones and zeros. They determined that the source of the issue was the Flight Data System. Since the Voyager is so far away, it could take awhile to fix the problem. It’s currently 15 billion miles from earth, which means commands from earth take about 22 hours to reach Voyager 1.
Launched back in 1977, the original mission of the spacecraft was to fly by Jupiter and Saturn. It’s now one of the only spacecraft to reach interstellar space, which is the region outside the heliosphere. Both Voyager 1 and 2 are providing us with observations of uncharted territory, as well as helping scientists understand the nature of energy and radiation in space.
Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech