After leaving the heliosphere in 2012, the border where the sun’s impact ends, the Voyager-1 spacecraft has been in interstellar space for more than a decade.
When the Attitude Articulation and Control System (AACS), which keeps the probe’s antenna pointed at Earth, started sending jumbled information about its condition, the spacecraft triggered alarm bells on Earth.
The problem impacting data from Voyager 1 has been resolved by engineers after months of accessing and analysing the probe’s systems.
The crew has since identified the cause of the jumbled data: The AACS had begun transmitting the telemetry data through an onboard computer that was known to have malfunctioned years earlier, and the computer contaminated the data, according to an update from Nasa.
Engineers tried a low-risk workaround and instructed the AACS to resume transmitting the data to the appropriate computer after determining the problem on the probe, which takes 21 hours 45 minutes 45 seconds to send and the same amount of time to receive data from Earth.
While engineers don’t yet know why the AACS started sending telemetry data to the wrong computer, they surmise that it did so after receiving a bad command from another onboard computer, according to NASA. And if that’s the case, they anticipate more issues as the spaceship, which was designed to last five years in space, nears the end of its 45-year operational life.