Mysteries

Captured by aliens? NASA’s veteran interplanetary Voyager 1 probe sends mysterious repeating signals to Earth

If on a clear evening you manage to find the constellations Ophiuchus and Hercules in the sky, know that the famous Voyager 1 probe is now flying somewhere there. It went into space in 1977 almost simultaneously with its twin brother Voyager 2. Both of them left the conventional limits of the solar system several years ago. The “first” probe is already 24 billion kilometers from Earth and for comparison Pluto is about six billion kilometers away from us.

In general, it is surprising that our smartphones process ten billion signals every second, and the half-century-old onboard technology of the Voyagers – eight thousand. And it is still “alive”; the scientific instruments of the probes are still collecting and transmitting their data about the unknown interstellar space.

On Voyager 1, only four out of ten research instruments are working, and on Voyager 2 – five, but this is not because all the others were broken: they simply had to be turned off to save energy as they were of lower priority. The devices are powered by radioisotope generators using plutonium-238, and, of course, they weaken over the years.

Unfortunately, NASA sadly expects an imminent complete loss of contact with Voyagers, quite possibly in 2025 or 2026 but they are trying in every possible way to postpone this moment as much as possible. “Voyager 2” is already switched to a backup generator in hopes of prolonging its life. Voyager 1 works with one less device, so it still has enough of the main power source. Lately it has been surprising the scientific community with some unexpected messages.

For example, in 2022 the probe suddenly stopped understanding where it was, and NASA spent many months studying half a century old drawings and other documents to find out what happened. It is believed there was a glitch in the on-board computer due to cosmic radiation. The situation was brought back to normal, but now there is some new incomprehensible story.

The fact is that the Earth receives data from both probes in “packets” from both scientific instruments and the flight control system. So, in the recent next “package” from Voyager 1 there was nothing at all from the scientific instruments, jus a meaningless jumble of ones and zeros.

In this case NASA reports that, in principle, the reason for the possible malfunction is quite clear: something is wrong with that particular on-board computer, which assembles the next data “parcel” and transmits it to the telemetry system for further sending to Earth.

The agency’s engineers are looking for solutions to the current situation, but the work is complicated by the fact that they have to look for solutions to problems that arise on equipment that is very old. After all, there are almost no specialists left who designed the probe and fully understand the principles and logic of its operation. Electronics has since made a giant leap, and today’s engineers operate with completely different categories and understanding of computer operation logic.

They write that they have already tried to turn off this on-board computer and turn it on again – much the same as we do with our home computers in the event of an incomprehensible glitch. Therefore, conspiracy theorists are now terribly puzzled by the problem. 

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Either a component is broken, the ancient computer is acting up or something else – no one knows

When Voyager 1 was just launched, it was assumed that in ten years it would catch up, and in another hundred years or more it would fly to the nearest star, where little green men would seize it. Therefore, a message was sent on a golden record even if the likelihood that an extraterrestrial civilization will ever find the flying message in a bottle is minimal.

We do not rule out that the reason for the abnormal operation of the probe may be that it fell into the paws (hands, claws, tentacles) of representatives of an extraterrestrial civilization, who reprogrammed the on-board computer in such a way that it would send us signals that they want to establish contact with us.

Perhaps the aliens’ communication equipment is built on completely different physical principles, and otherwise they simply cannot communicate with us.

Maybe in this way they just want to warn us of their arrival, hoping that we are an intelligent species and can easily decipher their message.

Another theory suggests that Voyager 1 is stuck in the dome of a flat Earth, which may be somewhat larger than flat-earthers think, and hangs somewhere in the Kuiper belt region. To many, such a structure seems huge, but in fact, by cosmic standards, it’s nothing at all:

The picture shows the comparative sizes of the Solar system and the black hole characteristic of the center of galaxies. This hole is considered one of the largest, but there are bigger ones. Therefore, whoever lives there could make toys for their children in the form of compact star systems. 

Finally, there is an alternative suggestion that some processes have begun in space. Just last week, the Hubble Space Telescope crashed, and then, coincidentally, Voyager 1 also crashed. But the recurring glitch is still quite strange. 

Of course, all of the above is unlikely and sounds like a sci-fi scenario, but the probability of such an event is not zero.

Therefore, do not be alarmed if tomorrow huge greenish interplanetary jellyfish will hover over our cities at high altitude.

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