Getting any response from 13 billion miles away is quite a feat.
But what will the aliens make of Chuck Berry?
Engineers experience “joy and incredulity” as a successful test extends the life of the farthest human-made object from Earth, reports Sky News.
NASA has been able to extend the life of one of its space probes travelling 13 billion miles from Earth by firing up dormant thrusters not used for 37 years.
Voyager 1 was launched in September 1977 and is the only human-made object in interstellar space – the environment between the stars.
But after four decades of exploration which have taken in fly-bys of Jupiter and Saturn, engineers found that the primary thrusters which orient the space probe had severely degraded.
So, in an attempt to keep Voyager 1 operable, NASA tested four thrusters on the back side of the spacecraft which have not been used 1980.
After waiting more than 19-and-a-half hours for test results to travel through space and reach an antenna in California, engineers found the dormant thrusters had worked “perfectly”.
NASA now plans to use the trajectory correction manoeuvre thrusters permanently from January – giving Voyager 1 an extra two to three years life.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Todd Barber said: “The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test.
“The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all.”
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via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
December 2, 2017 at 04:09AM