NASA’s Voyager 2 Signal Lost: Earth Contact in Doubt
Voyager 2, one of the twin probes launched in the 1970s by NASA to explore the outer solar system, encountered a communication glitch.
NASA reported that a routine sequence of commands caused a two-degree change in Voyager 2 antenna orientation. Unfortunately, this change has disrupted the ability of spacecraft to receive commands and transmit data back to Earth, leaving it unable to communicate with the Deep Space Network (DSN) antennas or receive commands from the mission team.
NASA is concerned that this glitch could be the final communication with Voyager 2. The spacecraft’s journey will go deeper into interstellar space so that it may lose connection with Earth forever. Currently, Voyager 2 is situated approximately 19.9 billion kilometres away from Earth.
However, there is optimism that this could be a temporary issue. NASA explains that Voyager 2 is designed to reset its orientation multiple times yearly, pointing its antenna back at Earth.
The space agency hopes the upcoming reset, scheduled for October 15, will re-establish the lost connection and resume routine communications.
The mission team is still convinced that Voyager 2 will continue its planned trajectory despite the problem. It is interesting to note that Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977, is still functioning normally despite being approximately 24 billion kilometers distant from Earth.
The two Voyager probes have crossed the Milky Way and entering the interstellar void after completing their original mission. In 2012, Voyager 1 made space travel history as it entered the interstellar medium for the first time.
Voyager 2 traveled a different course, passing Neptune in 1989 and entering interstellar space in 2018. It continues to explore this region and report useful data about the interstellar medium to Earth.
Our knowledge of the universe has been greatly improved by these amazing spacecrafts.