NASA relinks with Voyager 2 after accidentally losing contact

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By Dan Sears

They thought it was gonna be a long, long time.

NASA has successfully “reestablished full communications” with Voyager 2, an interstellar deep space probe which the agency sent offline with a faulty command two weeks ago.

The good news comes far ahead of schedule as experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California recently expressed worry that they would need to wait until October for Voyager 2 to do a scheduled full-system reset.

Voyager 2 — which was off kilter by 2% — had finally been reached when NASA’s Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia, successfully sent a “shout” signal equivalent beyond 12.3 billion miles to the probe.

Upon receipt, Voyager 2 was given instructions “to reorient itself and turn its antenna back to Earth,” the Jet Propulsion Lab announced.

NASA regained contact with the Voyager 2 probe after sending it a faulty command that lost contact.
NASA “reestablished full communications” with the Voyager 2 probe after sending it a faulty command.
NASA/AFP via Getty Images

“With a one-way light time of 18.5 hours for the command to reach Voyager, it took 37 hours for mission controllers to learn whether the command worked,” NASA added.

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The program also noted that the spacecraft “began returning science and telemetry data” just before 12:29 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Such information is a major indicator that Voyager 2 “is operating normally and that it remains on its expected trajectory.”

Voyager 2 — along with counterpart Voyager 1 — had initially been launched in 1977 to flyby our solar system’s outer, jovian planets as a way to collect information on the gas giants.

Voyager 2 is back online after fears the probe wouldn't be accessible until October.
Voyager 2 is back online after fears the probe wouldn’t be accessible until October.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In 2018, Voyager 2 reached a major threshold by exiting the sun’s protective belt, known as the heliosphere, and crossed into the void of interstellar space.

Recently, the Jet Propulsion Lab has been reanalyzing 1980s data obtained by Voyager 2 which points to potential life on several moons surrounding Uranus.

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