Where is Voyager 1? The location of the NASA space probe that sent the mysterious ‘impossible data’ revealed

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, is sending back data that puzzles scientists.

Experts are trying to figure out the nature of the problem.

That’s all we know.

What is the mission background of NASA Voyager 1?

On September 5, 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 was launched. It was part of a program to analyze the outer solar system and interstellar space beyond the Sun’s heliosphere. The heliosphere is a bubble around a planet. This is caused by the sun radiating its solar wind.

Voyager 1 is 14.5 billion miles from Earth (as of January 2022). (You can check the distances on the NASA website.)

We’ve been sending data back to scientists over the last 45 years.

The probe created flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

In 2012, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to cross the solar interface and enter interstellar space.

It takes light 20 hours and 33 minutes to travel the difference, so it takes about two days to send a message to Voyager 1 and get a response.

Now what’s the problem with NASA Voyager 1?

According to a statement from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, which built the probe, “The interstellar probe is operating normally, receiving and executing orders from Earth, along with the collection and return of scientific data.

“However, the probe’s postural articulation and control system (AACS) readings do not reflect what is actually happening on board.”

“The data may appear to be randomly generated or may not reflect possible states that AACS might be in,” he added.

Voyager 1’s twin Voyager 2 (now 12.1 billion miles from Earth and launched in 1977) continues to function normally.

What could be causing this?

Both Voyagers have been operating for much longer than the mission planners expected and are the only spacecraft to collect data from interstellar space.

Suzanne Dodd, project manager for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab’s Voyager 1 and twin Voyager 2 spacecraft, said aging and harsh environments could be the cause.

“Mysteries like this are what goes on in this phase of the Voyager mission,” she explained. “The ships are both nearly 45 years old, which is much older than the mission planners expected.

“We are also in interstellar space. It’s a high-radiation environment where spacecraft have never flown before.”

What’s next for the probe?

NASA said it will “monitor the signal closely as it continues to determine whether the erroneous data is coming directly from the AACS or from other systems involved in the generation and transmission of telemetry data.”

The team will not find the cause of the problem and will adapt instead, Dodd said.

If they can fix it, they can do it either through a software change or “using one of the ship’s redundant hardware systems”.

He said that it is impossible to predict how long spacecraft will be able to “collect and transmit scientific data” until the nature of the problem can be discovered.

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