(ORDO NEWS) — NASA‘s two Voyager probes have become, in a way, time capsules of their era: they each have an 8-track tape recorder for recording data, they have about 3 million times less memory than current cell phones, and they transmit data about 38,000 times slower than a 5G network.
Nevertheless, the Voyagers remain at the forefront of space exploration. They are the only probes ever to explore interstellar space.
Each of the Voyagers carries a gold plate containing images of life on Earth, information about basic scientific principles, and audio recordings that include nature sounds, greetings in multiple languages, and music. The records serve as a kind of “message in a bottle” for anyone who might encounter space probes.
Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 was launched 16 days later on September 5. Both probes went to Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 1 was moving faster and reached them first.
Together, the probes have revealed a lot about the two largest planets in the solar system and their satellites. Voyager 2 was the first and only spacecraft to fly close to Uranus (in 1986) and Neptune (in 1989).
Voyager 1 was the first to head towards the edge of the heliosphere. Coming out of it in 2012, he found that the heliosphere blocks 70% of cosmic rays.
Voyager 2, after completing its planetary exploration, continued to the edge of the heliosphere, overcoming it in 2018.
Recently, Voyager 1 began to experience a problem that led to a distortion of information about the status of one of the onboard systems.
Despite this, the system and spacecraft continue to function normally, indicating that the problem lies in the preparation of the status data and not in the system itself.
The probe is still sending scientific observations back to Earth while the engineering team tries to fix the problem or find a way around it.
“Voyagers continue to make amazing discoveries, inspiring a new generation of scientists and engineers,” said Suzanne Dodd, head of the Voyager project.
“We don’t know how long the mission will last, but we can be sure that the probes will bring even more scientific surprises as they travel very far from Earth.”
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