Have you ever updated a computer over 40 years old, at a distance of over 18 billion km? NASA did it, bringing it back into operation and thus extending the life of this little great prodigy of the technique for a few more years: it is the Voyager 2, an intelligent object that is flying in interstellar space after having passed the borders of the solar system a few months ago.
Confirmation came from NASA: after the problem occurred during an operation in January, where any further communication with the Voyager 2 instrumentation seemed irreparably compromised, it has now been possible to restore the connection with the probe. The communications take place again at a regular pace and discounting a delay time of 34 hours: 17 hours for sending a message, 17 hours for receiving the relative feedback.
Good vibes! Voyager 2 continues to be stable, and communications between Earth and the spacecraft are fine.
– NASA Voyager (@NASAVoyager) February 6, 2020
The update sent has certified the correct operation of each on-board instrumentation, recalibrated the magnetometer (as per initial intentions) and above all confirmed that the 249 watt power supply provided by three Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) remains guaranteed. In short, we can continue for a few years, further pushing the boundaries of man's conquest into space.
Little by little the Voyager 2 will be switched off, tool after tool, to prolong its activity as much as possible. The next few months will be dedicated to this type of assessment, defining the progressive farewell path with precise steps aimed at optimizing the charge still expected.
When even the food has run out, Voyager 2 will only have a solitary journey with the famous golden disc on board with the traces of humanity engraved on it, for future memory, or to testify to someone up there that we are down here . Voyager 2 is also a motto of hope and knowing that it remains active and connected is something that returns, in addition to scientific information of inestimable value, also a kind of comfort and reassurance for humanity.
And the journey continues.