NASA’s 45-year-old spacecraft, Voyager-1, is sending signals and operating normally in interstellar space, but the telemetry data it is returning is invalid. The mission team is still investigating the source of this discrepancy while still managing the spacecraft’s power supply, which has been steadily decreasing for the past 45 years.
Voyager 1 is currently 14.5 billion miles from Earth while its sibling Voyager 2 is 12.1 billion miles from Earth. The two Voyagers have been exploring our solar system since 1977 and sending back unparalleled science data from interstellar space.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, the team with Voyager-1 said:
,While I’ve been quiet here for the past few weeks, my engineering team is hard at work. First, they’re still checking my telemetry data – but don’t worry, I’m still able to receive and execute commands from Earth.
He is also managing my power supply, which has been depleting continuously for the last 45 years. They’ve slowly turned off heaters and other systems on me and my twin, but we’re both still sending back unique science data from interstellar space.
While our electricity budgets will continue to tighten, our team thinks we can continue to do science for at least five more years. I might get a chance to celebrate our 50th launch anniversary or even work into the 2030s.”
Hello from Interstellar Space! I have been quiet here for the past few weeks, my engineering team is working hard at work. First, they’re still checking my telemetry data – but don’t worry, I’m still able to receive and execute commands from Earth.
— NASA Voyager (@NASAVoyager) 23 June 2022
According to mission teams, both Voyagers have less and less power available over time to power their science instruments and the heaters that keep them warm in the cold of deep space. The mission engineering team is working on getting the two spacecraft to operate beyond 2025 and return to unparalleled science. To this end, the team has switched off various subsystems and heaters to reserve power for science instruments and critical systems.