NASA reestablishes week-lost contact with Voyager 2 space probe
The Voyager 2 is one of the two longest-operated spacecraft, as NASA adds that Voyager 1, almost 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth at the moment, continues to operate normally.
NASA announced a win on Friday after it was able to reestablish full contact with the Voyager 2 space probe after losing contact last week.
In a statement on its website, NASA said that it "has reestablished full communications with Voyager 2. The agency’s Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia, sent the equivalent of an interstellar 'shout' more than 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) to Voyager 2, instructing the spacecraft to reorient itself and turn its antenna back to Earth."
"With a one-way light time of 18.5 hours for the command to reach Voyager, it took 37 hours for mission controllers to learn whether the command worked. At 12:29 a.m. EDT on Aug. 4, the spacecraft began returning science and telemetry data, indicating it is operating normally and that it remains on its expected trajectory".
This update follows after NASA announced that contact was lost in late July after a series of planned commands were sent to the probe, resulting in the spacecraft's antenna pointing away from Earth and thus the loss of communications and data transmission.
The Voyager 2 is one of the two longest-operated spacecraft as Voyager 1, almost 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth at the moment, continues to operate normally.
Two days ago, NASA detected a signal from the Voyager 2 before establishing full contact today.
Project manager Suzanne Dodd said in an email on Tuesday that NASA's Deep Space Network, a vast network of radio antennae, detected a "heartbeat signal", indicating that the 46-year-old craft is still alive and functional.
Dodd remarked that the news "buoyed our spirits." The antenna of Voyager 2 will now be turned back toward Earth by flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
In an effort to study the outer planets, Voyager 2 and its identical twin, Voyager 1, were launched into space in 1977.
Voyager 2 made significant discoveries during its journey, including finding a new moon around Jupiter, ten moons around Uranus, and five moons around Neptune. It remains the only spacecraft to have closely studied all four giant planets of our solar system.