Science & Tech

NASA loses Voyager 2 signal after sending wrong command

NASA is trying to reestablish contact with Voyager 2 after it sent a wrong command to the spacecraft and lost communication with it

The spacecraft, flying deep into interstellar space billions of miles away from Earth, was accidentally sent a wrong command more than a week ago by flight controllers, and has since then been out of touch.

The command caused Voyager 2’s antenna to shift a mere 2 percent away from Earth, but it was still enough to cut communications, the report read.

On Monday, NASA said its huge dish antenna in Canberra was looking for any stray signals from Voyager 2.

The spacecraft, more than 12 billion miles (19 billion km) away, will take over 18 hours to convey a signal to Earth from that distance.

NASA launched Voyager 2 from Florida in 1977 just a couple weeks ahead of its identical twin — Voyager 1 — to study the outer solar system as well as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

In 2018 Voyager 2 entered interstellar space, and had by then discovered a number of new moons on Uranus and one on Jupiter.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Voyager missions, revealed that the Canberra antenna, which is part of Nasa’s Deep Space Network, will also send the correct command to Voyager 2’s vicinity next week in the hope that it hits its mark.

In the event that the measures fail, NASA will have to wait until October this year for an automatic spacecraft reset that should restore communication, according to officials.

Voyager 1, which is still in touch with Earth, is now humanity’s most distant spacecraft at nearly 15 billion miles (24 billion km) away, the report added.

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