Recently On August 1, NASA engineers received a heartbeat signal from Voyager 2 which surely built hope in them that they might be able to reestablish their contact with the probe and the interstellar traveller, that too months ahead of the schedule.
This news of receiving signal is currently cruising just beyond the edge of the solar system which is more than 19.9 billion kilometres away from Earth. This heartbeat confirms that the launched spacecraft is still broadcasting as expected by the engineers around.
This heartbeat signal indicated that the Voyager 2 is still functioning at its best even though the series of planned operations on July 21 mistakenly angled the probe’s antenna which was about two degrees away from Earth and it led to the cutting of all communications between Voyager and NASA’s Deep space network which is the international array of radio antennas that even support NASA’s interplanetary missions.
Since the heartbeat is confirmed now NASA will try and send back the command to Voyager 2 to coax the probe to help in angling its antenna back towards the earth. As one knows it usually takes 18.5 hours for a command to reach Voyager 2 and then another 18-19 hours for the Earth to receive the transmission back, hence according to the Scientific American we may get to know the fate possibly in the next two days.
In case the force alignment tends to fail then Voyager 2 Is expected to reset the antenna to the earth-facing position that also on Oct 15 and it is considered one of the planned series of auto resets which occurs most throughout the year.
Voyager 2 and Voyager 1 are twins which were launched into space in August and September 1977 respectively. There was a gap of 16 days but both probes shot into the solar system before even venturing towards the edge of the heliosphere.
Voyager 1 was seen cracking the heliosphere 1st reached interstellar space in August 2012 and is cruising about 23.8 billion km from our planet which makes it the single most distant human object from Earth. Voyager 2 followed its twin and left the heliosphere in 2018 which was indeed several years after Voyager 1.
According to the research made both the voyagers have enough fuel in them to last till the year 2025 and following this, they will surely become the two most expensive record players of all time. These both probes carry copies of the famous voyager known as Voyager golden record which is a double-sided collection of songs and these sounds are meant to encapsulate the natural and soothing musical heritage of Earth for any audiophile alien that may happen upon them. These probes even contain a music player with pictorial instructions and even a map of the earth’s location which is relative to a handful of ultrabright quasars which could make the aliens eager to hear sounds that we earthlings have cooked upon that too since the 1970s. Pretty interesting right?