NASA hears a signal from the Voyager 2 spacecraft after it accidentally disconnects

NASA hears a signal from the Voyager 2 spacecraft after it accidentally disconnects

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP) — After days of silence, NASA heard from Voyager 2 in interstellar space billions of miles away.

Flight controllers accidentally sent a wrong command nearly two weeks ago that tilted the spacecraft’s antenna away from Earth and severed communication.

NASA’s Deep Space NetworkGiant radio antennas around the world have picked up a “heartbeat signal,” project manager Susan Dodd said in an email Tuesday, which means the 46-year-old rover is alive and running.

Dowd said the news “boosted our spirits”. Flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California will now attempt to bring Voyager 2’s antenna back toward Earth.

If it doesn’t work—and the controllers are skeptical about that—they’ll have to wait until October to reset the spacecraft automatically. The antenna is only 2% outside the kilometer.

“That’s a long time we’ve been waiting, so we’ll try to send orders a few more times” before that time, Dodd said.

Voyager 2 blasted into space in 1977, along with its identical twin, Voyager 1, in an effort to explore the outer planets.

Voyager 1 is still communicating and working fine, and is now 15 billion miles (24 billion km) from Earth, making it the farthest spacecraft.

Voyager 2 is following the path of its twin into interstellar space more than 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from Earth. At this distance, the signal takes more than 18 hours to travel in one direction.


The Associated Press Health and Science section receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Media group. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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