Nov 24, 2023

NASA Sends Software Update Over 12 Billion Miles to Voyager 2

Posted by in category: futurism

Last year, Voyager 1’s attitude articulation and control system (AACS) started sending random data back to Earth, and it took NASA engineers months to figure out why. It turns out the AACS had entered an incorrect mode, but it’s unclear why the mode switch happened in the first place. This software patch is meant to stop the same thing happening to Voyager 2 (and to Voyager 1 again).

Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager, explains “this patch is like an insurance policy that will protect us in the future and help us keep these probes going as long as possible … These are the only spacecraft to ever operate in interstellar space, so the data they’re sending back is uniquely valuable to our understanding of our local universe.”

As Voyager 2 is over 12 billion miles away, it took over 18 hours to send the software patch to the probe on Friday. There is a risk the patch could overwrite essential code or have unintended consequences, so a readout of AACS memory is being carried out to make sure it’s in the right place. If no anomalies are found, the update will be triggered on Oct. 28.

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