NASA loses make contact with with Voyager Two right after a programming error on Earth : NPR

NASA just lately lost get hold of with its Voyager 2 spacecraft. NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Suzanne Dodd, project manager for the Voyager Interstellar mission, about what happened.


The place agency NASA is waiting to reestablish get hold of with Voyager 2. That spacecraft has been hurtling absent from the Earth given that 1977. In modern weeks, a programming mistake on Earth prompted the company to drop get hold of, leaving NASA waiting for an automated reset to kick in this tumble. Suzanne Dodd, who manages Voyager 2 from a California lab, says it truly is now 13 billion miles away recording information and also all set for get in touch with just in situation.

SUZANNE DODD: It does have this gold file on it that contains the sounds of our earth Earth, and it is on this spacecraft for any upcoming becoming to find it.

INSKEEP: You know, when I to start with browse about the gold document as a kid, I feel, I puzzled, would, you know, any alien lifestyle variety – would they know how to enjoy it? And I’m now recognizing it really is been likely so very long that if it came back to Earth with this gold report, we would have the exact query. Would any individual know how to participate in it?

DODD: Right. It really is a phonographic file. They really hooked up a needle with that record on the outside the house of the spacecraft, so the technological know-how is surely 1970s technological innovation with Voyager.

INSKEEP: The file contains greetings in many languages.


Unidentified Particular person #1: (Non-English language spoken).

Unidentified Particular person #2: (Non-English language spoken).

Unknown Particular person #3: (Non-English language spoken).

INSKEEP: And also seems of Earth.


INSKEEP: So we presume no a person has listened at this stage, but you are getting details. How would you describe to laymen what you happen to be finding out about the universe these last many decades?

DODD: I search at Voyager ideal now as considerably of a temperature satellite, in some techniques. You will find almost nothing to get pictures of. We’ve stopped using pics because we went earlier Neptune. It really is incredibly, incredibly darkish, really, pretty cold in which Voyager is. The sunlight is fundamentally a vivid star to Voyager. But we can measure the natural environment we are touring through. So we evaluate the density of the plasma. We evaluate the vitality stages of charged particles that we see. We measure the photo voltaic wind and the absence of solar wind.

INSKEEP: So what took place with the antennas just lately?

DODD: Nicely, it was a bit regrettable. We sent a command to update its pointing towards the Earth, and there was an error in that command. And so it’s pointed about two levels off of the Earth. And from the length that Voyager 2 is, close to 13 billion miles from us, that

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NASA sees ‘otherworldly’ wreckage on Mars with Ingenuity helicopter

The object resembles a traveling saucer that crashed on Mars.

And in truth it is.

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But it does not belong to aliens.

As a substitute, the wreckage is the work of NASA, a component called a backshell that detached through the landing of the Perseverance rover on the surface area of the crimson world in February 2021.

“There’s undoubtedly a sci-fi element to it,” Ian Clark, an engineer who labored on Perseverance’s parachute procedure, explained of pictures launched Wednesday. “It exudes otherworldly, does not it?”

Following shelling out a calendar year discovering the rocks of the crater it landed in, the Perseverance rover handed around its landing web page on its way to a river delta that the moment flowed alongside the western rim of the crater. The rover’s modest robotic companion, the helicopter Ingenuity, carries on to tag alongside.

Through its 26th flight last week, Ingenuity took 10 pics throughout its 159 seconds in the air masking 1,181 feet. All those display the backshell, or the prime 50 percent of the landing capsule that safeguarded Perseverance and Ingenuity as they plunged by means of the Martian environment. Nevertheless attached is the 70-foot-large parachute that slowed the vehicles’ descent.

The parachute and backshell detached from the rover at an altitude of 1.3 miles. A rocket-run process termed Skycrane took Perseverance the rest of the way to the surface, though the backshell and parachute landed extra than a mile away to the northwest.

The backshell, virtually 15 feet in diameter, strike the ground at about 78 mph, partially shattering. In any other case, anything seems to be in excellent shape — no evident signals of charring. The parachute seems to be intact as do the suspension lines connecting the parachute to the backshell. But engineers have just commenced scrutinizing the new images in depth.

“They say a picture’s worth 1,000 words and phrases, but it’s also worthy of an infinite amount of money of engineering comprehension,” Clark said.

Researching the stays of the backshell could establish useful for NASA’s following huge Mars experience — bringing back again rocks and soil from Mars to Earth for far more detailed research. That mission, referred to as Mars Sample Return, will want to set two landers on the surface — a rover to gather rock samples being drilled by Perseverance, and a small rocket to start the samples into orbit for a further spacecraft to decide on up to convey back to Earth.

“We use all of our best models, all of our ideal investigation equipment,” Clark stated. The images enable verify how properly the types and investigation worked, adding confidence to the versions in the long run.

Kenneth Farley, the mission’s undertaking scientist, was fascinated not just by the “truly spectacular” images of the hardware but also what the hardware happened to land on.

“Remarkably, this wreckage wound up correct on the speak to in between the two rock formations on the

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