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NASA successfully hacks the 45-year-old spacecraft from 14 billion miles away

Voyager 2, launched in 1977, has been exploring the depths of our solar system and beyond for over four decades.

As the spacecraft continues its journey into interstellar space, NASA has devised a new power strategy to keep Voyager 2 operational and gathering valuable scientific data. In this article, we will discuss how NASA’s innovative approach has extended the life of this historic probe, enabling it to continue its mission of exploration and discovery.

The Power Management Challenge

As Voyager 2 travels further from the Sun, its power supply dwindles. The spacecraft relies on radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) to convert heat from radioactive decay into electricity. Over time, the efficiency of these generators decreases, resulting in diminished power availability for the probe’s instruments and systems. NASA engineers had to develop a strategy to manage the probe’s limited power supply effectively while maintaining its scientific capabilities.

New Power Strategy for Voyager 2

To tackle the power management challenge, NASA’s engineers carefully analyzed the energy requirements of Voyager 2’s scientific instruments and systems. They then devised a plan to switch off non-essential components and reallocate power to the most critical instruments. This new power strategy allows Voyager 2 to continue gathering valuable data about interstellar space while conserving energy for the remainder of its mission.

The Successful Implementation

After developing the new power strategy, NASA’s engineers faced the challenge of implementing it remotely on a spacecraft billions of miles away. In March 2022, they successfully executed the power-saving plan, shutting down the Cosmic Ray Subsystem (CRS) instrument and reallocating its power to other critical systems. The CRS instrument had been operational since Voyager 2’s launch, providing important data on cosmic rays for over four decades.

Continuing Voyager 2’s Legacy

Although Voyager 2 has lost one of its key instruments, the new power strategy allows the probe to maintain functionality of its other essential systems. The spacecraft remains capable of studying interstellar space, providing valuable information about the heliosphere, the magnetic field, and the solar wind.

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  1. Think about the technology you used 45 years ago.
    i.e.1978 and then add back a bit more because they would not have had the latest.
    I bought my first desk top computer about then,. The alternatives were mostly bug room systems like NCR had built. Cost 100k plus then or we bought a Japanese computer that ran off tapes. Had no printer so we had a box with an interface to a golf ball typewriter.
    did a serious amount of work with that. Apps have more grunt these days.
    Even the brick phones were not a thing and as for using computers and modems, well that was fantasy land in NZ.



    • I think there is someone, somewhere, who has decided that using wifi is unnecessary while sitting on the toilet – not to mention unhygienic.
      I bless that person.
      How many people who take their phones into bathrooms wash their hands but neglect to wipe down the phone they then put on the table at the next meal.



  2. It is absurd that millennials think they are edgy tech futurists. Computers , space travel etc were invented by the parents of boomers when they needed something to do after winning a world war. Of course Nazis led the space race for both Russia and USA.

    Millennials have invented nothing and led no social change. Their identity politics talking points were popularised by the boomers. They are the worst generation in human history.



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