Voyager 2 has now left the solar system and is 18.5 billion kilometers away from us. On January 25, 2020, the spacecraft should rotate 360 degrees to recalibrate its own magnetometer. However, there was a delay, so that two systems with comparatively high energy consumption were active at the same time. This apparently overloaded the power supply.
An update on our twin@NASAVoyagerspacecraft, still operating in interstellar space. After software designed to automatically protect it was triggered, engineers successfully turned Voyager 2’s science instruments back on. Normal operations resume soon: https://t.co/UEvQBfMHJtpic.twitter.com/GUCZamVZ0Q
– NASA (@NASA)January 30, 2020
Scientific instruments disabled
For security reasons, Voyager 2 has automatically switched off all scientific instruments. This compensated for the performance deficit. It was only on January 28 that NASA technicians managed to deactivate one of the two performance-hungry systems and restart the scientific instruments. So far, however, the instruments have not yet sent any further data to Earth.
Due to the large distance to earth, the control options of Voyager 2 are severely limited. The signal runtime is currently 17 hours in each direction, so that a response only reaches the earth after 34 hours.
In addition to the transmission of images and measurement data to the earth, the two Voyager probes have the task of transporting the “Voyager Golden Record”. It is a data plate that is aimed at extraterrestrials and contains information about humanity, the planet Earth and our solar system. Images and audio messages are stored on the data carrier. The space probes should continue to fly for thousands of years, provided they do not collide with another object on their way.
See also:Voyager: The boundary of the solar system is surprisingly clear