“I think there was probably a sigh of relief there,” Mr. Nagle said. “And we’re happy to be able to confirm that the spacecraft is still talking to us.”
The work has received high praise from NASA officials in the United States.
“The DSNs in Canberra did a remarkable job under pandemic conditions,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager mission project director and director of the Interplanetary Network Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. just to upgrade DSS 43. “I have a 100% confidence in that antenna, that it will perform well in the next few decades. The past is long gone when the journey contest. “
Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 hold the record for the longest distance a spacecraft has traveled and the longest mission. Voyager 2 has had a few hiccups over the years, but it’s still sensing its journey in the dark, making discoveries about the boundary that separates our solar system from the rest of the heavens. Ha Milky Way.
“I have seen scientists with astrophysics background looking at data from the Voyager and trying to match that data with data they have from terrestrial telescopes,” said Ms Dodd. telescope on another dimension. “It’s really interesting going from a planetary mission to a birthday one and now, practically becoming an astrophysics mission.”
While Voyager 2 is continuing to operate, Ms. Dodd and her colleagues are preparing to turn off one of its scientific sensors, the Low Energy Charged Particle device. Doing so will ensure that the spacecraft’s limited power supply can keep its other systems, especially its communications antennas, warm enough to function.
While that would reduce the scientific output of the spacecraft, the main goal now is longevity.
“The challenge is not with new technology, or with great discoveries,” said Ms. Dodd. “The challenge is to keep it active for as long as possible and return the scientific data as long as possible.”
The team estimates that both spacecraft can operate for another four to eight years and NASA last year gave the group three more years of flight time.