Voyager 2: Nasa loses contact with the world’s most powerful probe after delivering the erroneous command
Nasa has lost communication with its Voyager 2 probe billions of miles distant from Earth after accidentally cutting off contact with it.
Last month, the spacecraft, which has been exploring space since 1977, received the incorrect command, tilting its antenna two degrees away from Earth.
As a result, the probe is no longer accepting orders or transmitting data.
Nasa anticipates that communication will resume when the probe is rebooted in October.
Voyager 2 is more than 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) from Earth, traveling into interstellar space at an estimated 34,390mph (55,346km/h).
Since July 21, the pioneering probe has been unable to accept commands or send back data to Nasa’s Deep Space Network – a global network of enormous radio antennae – and it is not receiving commands from base controllers.
Despite its nearly 46-year journey, there is still hope for the probe.
The space agency announced on Monday that its massive dish near Canberra, Australia’s capital, was attempting to catch any stray signals from Voyager 2. A signal from so far away takes more than 18 hours to reach Earth.
According to Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which handles the Voyager missions, the antenna will also blast Voyager 2’s vicinity with the right instruction in the goal of making contact with the probe.
Otherwise, Voyager 2 is set to reset its orientation numerous times every year in order to keep its antenna pointed at Earth. The next reset is scheduled for October 15, which Nasa believes “should allow communication to resume.”
Meanwhile, Nasa expects the science-laden spaceship to continue on its intended course through the universe.
Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, are the first spacecraft to function outside the heliosphere, the Sun’s protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields. They both arrived in interstellar space in 2018 and 2012.