NASA temporarily loses contact with Voyager 2 after entering wrong commands

NASA recently lost contact with Voyager 2, which is currently located more than 12.3 billion miles away from the Earth. It took NASA 18 hours for signals to reach Earth from that distance

Nasa Voyagers

Nasa Voyagers

Sudeep Singh Rawat New Delhi

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has temporarily lost contact with the second farthest man-made object sent into space, called Voyager 2.

Voyager 2 is located more than 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometres) away from earth. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) issued a statement that scientists lost contact with the space probe on July 21 after a series of planned commands accidentally caused the Voyager 3 to move its antenna angle away from the earth. Although the antenna movement was only 2 per cent, it was enough to cease contact with the NASA team.

NASA also said on Monday that the dish antenna based in Canberra, Australia was in search of any stray signals from Voyager 2. As the spacecraft is at a distance of more than 12 billion miles away, it took 18 hours for signals to reach Earth from that distance.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Voyager missions, the Canberra antenna which is a part of NASA's Deep Space Network will bombard Voyager 2's vicinity with the correct command, believing that it will hit its mark in the coming weeks.

Otherwise, the space agency has to wait till October for an automatic spacecraft reset to restore communication, said officials.

Voyager 2 which was launched in the year 1977, just a couple of weeks ahead of its identical twin, Voyager 1,  was a part of NASA's longest-running mission. The spacecraft has been travelling for almost half a century, and it has sent some iconic images of the solar system back to the Earth.

Both Voyager 1 and 2 have exceeded their lifespan, which were earlier expected to run out of steam within four years of their launch. Both of the probes are currently the farthest objects ever sent by humanity into space, and have already exited the solar system. 

First Published: Aug 01 2023 | 8:23 PM IST

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