Science

Voyager 1 back on track after firing of old thrusters

Voyager 1 back on track after firing of old thrusters

Voyager 1 is now more than 13 billion miles away from Earth, so the commands took a while to be relayed.

The US space firm NASA has said a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 probe, the unique human-made object in interstellar space, have been successfully fired up after 37 years without practice. The team will use the thrusters until they can no longer use the heaters, and will then switch back to the attitude control thrusters that they've been relying on.

The Voyager team gathered a group of momentum specialist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, California, to investigate the puzzle. They allowed on an exceptional solution: Try giving the job of orientation to a set of thrusters that had been resting for 37 years.

Instead of continuing to use the attitude control thrusters, they wanted to try to turn on the spacecraft's trajectory correction maneuver thrusters, which hadn't been used for almost 40 years.

JPL chief engineer Chris Jones added: "The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters". The four Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-103 trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) engines were last fired in 1980 when the spacecraft was passing Saturn.

The Voyager missions discovered the first active volcanoes beyond Earth, at Jupiter's moon Io, and hints of a subsurface ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa.

More news: Missing teen out of Columbia County located safe in NY
More news: Pope Francis asks Rohingya Muslims for forgiveness
More news: Bali reopens as ash disperses but President urges caution

According to NASA, the TCM thrusters were located on the back side of the aircraft and previously were used in a more continuous firing mode during planetary flybys (the last such being Saturn in 1980). "The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all", Todd Barber, a propulsion engineer, said in the statement. On Tuesday, JPL engineers commanded the thrusters to fire and waited for Voyager's response.

The thrusters worked just fine.

Because of the success in the attempt to test Voyager 1's TCM thrusters, NASA plans to test the ones on Voyager 2.

In 1977, the twin spacecrafts Voyager 1 and 2 were launched, 16 days apart. With this example before them, NASA laid a more ambitious message aboard Voyager 1 and 2, a kind of time capsule, meant to relate a story of our world to aliens.

Voyager 2 is also on course to enter interstellar space, likely within the next few years. JPL operates Voyager and the Deep Space Network (DSN) that receives the signals. The Voyager missions are a part of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington.


  • White House says Rex Tillerson to remain as Secretary of State

    White House says Rex Tillerson to remain as Secretary of State

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers a statement at the State Department in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2017. "He's here. The former Exxon Mobile chairman and CEO has had a reportedly contentious relationship with the president.
    Russia World Cup draw

    Russia World Cup draw

    Pot 4: Serbia (38), Nigeria (41), Australia (43), Japan (44), Morocco (48), Panama (49), South Korea (62), Saudi Arabia (63). Pot 2: Spain (8), Peru (10), Switzerland (11), England (12 ), Colombia (13), Mexico (16), Uruguay (17), Croatia (18).
    NatWest announces it will close a Portsmouth branch

    NatWest announces it will close a Portsmouth branch

    The bank has pointed to the rise in mobile apps and online banking for the 40 per cent reduction in brick and mortar branches. The bank said it was seeking to manage job losses on a voluntary basis and keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
  • Japan's Emperor Akihito to step down in April 2019

    Japan's Emperor Akihito to step down in April 2019

    Akihito, 84 this month, is due to abdicate on April 30 2019 with his heir, Crown Prince Naruhito, becoming emperor the next day. The government was required by law to hear the council's views before formally deciding the date, most likely next week.
    Merkel allies try to appease fuming SPD ahead of German coalition talks

    Merkel allies try to appease fuming SPD ahead of German coalition talks

    He said that the SPD leadership's decisions early in the week would be presented to other party members during a meeting next Thursday and Friday for approval.
    SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH Gets a 2-Season Order at Netflix

    SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH Gets a 2-Season Order at Netflix

    This'll be a coming of age tale dealing with horror and the occult as Sabrina must contend with being half-human and half-witch. Lee Toland Krieger will direct and executive produce with Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti , Sarah Schechter, and Jon Goldwater.
  • Corvette ZR1 Convertible Is Rightfully One Of LA's Hottest Debuts

    Corvette ZR1 Convertible Is Rightfully One Of LA's Hottest Debuts

    Naturally, with the Performance Pack fitted the top speed is lowered, but even so hindered the ZR1 will still able to crack 200mph.
    Markit/CIPS: UK manufacturing PMI hits highest level since August 2013 in November

    Markit/CIPS: UK manufacturing PMI hits highest level since August 2013 in November

    Rising costs were commonly associated with higher prices paid for imported raw materials, with demand for inputs exceeding supply. Output and new orders both rose only modestly leading to a fall in employment and a reduction in business confidence.
    PUBG to run at 60fps on Xbox One X

    PUBG to run at 60fps on Xbox One X

    PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds ( PUBG ) will be running at a smooth 60fps if you are playing it on the Xbox One X . Many Xbox One owners are anticipating the release of PUBG on consoles when it arrives on December 12th for $29.99.
  • Micromax Bharat 5 With 5000mAh Battery Launched For Rs. 5555

    Micromax Bharat 5 With 5000mAh Battery Launched For Rs. 5555

    Up front, the Micromax Bharat 5 sports a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 720p resolution and 2.5D curved tempered glass on the top. But if pricing is the matter of conclusion, Xiaomi Redmi 5A will be available at Rs. 4,999 only for the first 5 million buyers.
    Kate Winslet and Stephen Colbert Recreate 'Titanic' Ending

    Kate Winslet and Stephen Colbert Recreate 'Titanic' Ending

    Winslet shouted, as she and Colbert maneuver on the desk so both of them can lay on it. Colbert asked surprised of the actress's statement.
    Former Marine gets life in prison for rape

    Former Marine gets life in prison for rape

    In 1995, mass anti-U.S. protests erupted on the island after a 12-year-old schoolgirl was raped by three US service members. Shinzato pleaded guilty to rape resulting in death and abandoning the body but did not plead guilty to murder.