NASA's Voyager 1 Sputters Back To Life


Late previous year, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, which has been moving through space since beginning about 50 years ago, begun conveying nonsensical  messages back to Earth, as if infirmity was catching up with it.

"We'd gone from having a interaction with Voyager, with the 1’s and 0’s carrying science information, to just a dial tone," Voyager project researcher Linda Spilker told scientific American.

Currently, as per NASA's most recent update, the Voyager mission team has detected a hint of life — in the type of a signal that appear to be readout of the memory of the aging spacecraft's flight data subsystem (FDS), an onboard computer that readies packets of data to be transferred to Earth.

The data wasn't in the correct type, but at least it was something. So while there are no guarantees, it's a optimistic hint of life that could allow Voyager 1 to carry on its decades-long mission.

"It’s an amazing growth on Voyager," Joe Westlake, director of NASA’s heliophysics division, told SciAm.

The memory carries a wealth of information about Voyager 1's condition, along with "science or engineering data for downlink," per NASA.

The engineers are doing comparison between data to the last readout to find out if there are any discrepancies that could describe why the spacecraft has been behaving so weird.

But it'll maybe take some time to come to any results.

"The team is examining the readout," the space agency's update reads. "Using that data to devise a potential solution and try to put it into practice will take time."

The old spacecraft has already been suffering many hurdles, from dwindling power  supplies and grimy thrusters to near-fatal software issues.

Despite too much obstacles, researchers are still attempting to squeeze every bit of life that may — or may not — be left.

"My aim for a long time was 50 years or bust," researcher Stamatios Krimigis, who has contributed in the Voyager 1 mission since the 1970s, told NPR earlier this month, "but we're kind of approaching that."