NASA confirms an interstellar spacecraft sent messages to Earth

NASA has confirmed that it received communications data from a spacecraft 15 billion miles away from Earth, and the data is relieving.

1 minute & 43 seconds read time

NASA has confirmed that it has received a message from a spacecraft located more than 15 billion miles away from Earth.

That spacecraft is none other than Voyager 1, which in 2023 began sending incomplete messages back to NASA headquarters as it continued its long journey through interstellar space. However, the space agency has now said the messages Voyager 1 has sent through are nominal and that scientific operations conducted by its four instruments have returned to stable levels.

More specifically, NASA engineers were required to reprogram the timekeeping software aboard Voyager 1 to ensure the legendary spacecraft executes its commands at the correct times. There is still some work that needs to be done, but it shouldn't be understated how much of a feat this recent correction has been. Voyager 1 is 15 billion miles away from Earth, or 24 billion kilometers. Any engineering at distances such as these is an achievement in itself.

NASA confirms an interstellar spacecraft sent messages to Earth 65516156

So, how did they do it? After receiving a repeating pattern of 0's and 1's from the spacecraft as if it was somehow stalled, NASA engineers fired a "poke" command at the distant space probe. The poke landed and resulted in a memory dump that enabled engineers to identify the problem, which was a single malfunctioning chip. The team then created a new software update that dodged the malfunctioning hardware.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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