The Voyagers were launched in 1977. They have left the solar system and are in interstellar space. NASA calls them Interstellars.
Since May 2022, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has been sending some kind of gibberish to Earth instead of telemetry data.
By the end of August 2022, the engineers decided that the failure was due to the fact that the orientation, positioning and control system of the probe (Attitude Articulation and Control System – AACS) received from somewhere the command to send the collected data to the computer, which broke down many years ago.
It started transmitting distorted information – the signals are mysterious, as they were called by NASA itself. The command, as they believe here, came from some other, onboard computer.
Whether this is actually the case is still unknown. But the specialists working with the probe sent their commands to it so that AACS still redirected the data to a working computer. And it finally succeeded. Suzanne Dodd, Voyager’s project manager, announced this the other day.
Many do not rule out “outside” interference, that is, aliens. They cite as an example a similar “malfunction” with the Voyager 2 probe, the twin brother of Voyager 1, which occurred 12 years ago. It also at one time sent “mysterious signals” but allegedly stopped after the on-board computer was able to reboot on commands from the Earth.
There are enough enthusiasts who believe that alien hackers interfered with the operation of the probes and ufologists do not exclude that both Voyagers are now under their control.
Astrophysicist Kevin Baines, who has worked at NASA for over 30 years, reported that Voyager 2 seemed to spontaneously start sending signals in a language unknown to scientists. And according to his assurances, he himself could not change the encoding.
It turns out that NASA officials admit that someone from the outside has changed the communication system of the device. But the question of who can do this in deep space remained open.
Be that as it may, it seems aliens no longer interfere with the work of the probes. Some scientific instruments continue to transmit both scientific data and telemetry.
Currently, the data that comes from Voyagers to radio telescopes around the globe travels at only 160 bits per second. This decision was made deliberately in order to maintain a constant speed throughout the mission. The main cameras were turned off after the flyby of the last planet in the solar system, only a few instruments remained active. Every six months, for 30 minutes, data from an 8-pin digital tape is transferred to a compressed archive at a speed of 1400 bits per second.
By 2025, after almost half a century of travel to where there is nothing human, the team will turn off the probes and communicate with them in a slightly sentimental one-way manner, so that the Voyagers are on their right course. And they will fly further and further into the darkness.
Voyager 1 carries enough nuclear fuel to continue serving science until 2025, and to go with the flow after death. On its current trajectory, the probe should eventually end up 1.5 light-years away near the star Camelopardalis in the northern constellation, which looks like a cross between a giraffe and a camel. No one knows if there are planets near this star and whether aliens will settle there by the time the probe arrives.
You can find out where and how far both Voyagers are on a special NASA website.