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NASA Thinks It Has Solved Voyager 1 Gibberish Problem

The space probe is the most distant human-made object from Earth, but has been sending a stream of garbled nonsense since November.

Illustration of Voyager 1 in deep space
Illustration of Voyager 1 with its antenna pointed back at Earth | NASA/JPL)

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 zipped past Saturn and Jupiter in 1979 and 1980 before flying out into interstellar space in 2012. It is now recording the conditions outside of the sun's protective magnetic field, or heliosphere, which blankets our solar system.

Voyager 1 is currently more than 15 billion miles (24 billion km) from Earth, and it takes 22.5 hours for any radio signal to travel from the craft to our planet. The spacecraft sends regular radio signals as it drifts further from our solar system. But in November 2023, the signals suddenly became garbled, meaning scientists were unable to read any of its data, and they were left mystified about the fault's origins.

Now, NASA engineers finally know why. Its flight data subsystem's memory has been corrupted, but the good news - now that they know what the problem is - the engineers believe they have a 'workaround' solution.

Although it may take several months, the engineers say they can restore the spacecraft's messaging output and enable it to continue to send readable information from outside our solar system.


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