The curious and simple strategy that NASA has devised to extend the life cycle of Voyager 2.
NASA was planning to shut down Voyager 2 for good, basically because it was running out of power, but the space agency has found a new way to extend the probe’s life cycle to 2026, and that’s good news for humanity.
The POT has found a way to hack a backup power source to keep the probe running until 2026, extending its 45 years of service to humanity.
Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 they are traveling aimlessly into interstellar space, and no human-made object has ever managed to travel that far.
“The scientific data that Voyagers are returning becomes more valuable the farther they get from the Sun.“, Explain Linda Spilkera Voyager project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California.
“We are interested in keeping as many scientific instruments running as long as possible“, Add.
The Voyager 1 like Voyager 2, they departed within a month of each other in 1977 and were destined to undertake a four-year mission to go beyond Saturn and Jupiter.
They include a gold disc with information to provide hypothetical extraterrestrials with information about our planet.
As the years have passed, the waves have exceeded the expectations of NASA, which has been steadily expanding its missions, first to pass close to Neptune and Uranus, and then to go farther than any other probe.
This is how they extended their useful life cycle
In order to extend the life cycle of Voyager 2, it must be explained that both are powered by generators that convert heat from decaying plutonium into electricity.
As this power source wears out, NASA has had to turn off non-essential instruments like cameras to conserve power.
But when Voyager 2 was already running out of power reserves, NASA created a clever trick to allow it to stay “alive” for a few more years.
They have found a way to divert power from a safety mechanism designed to turn on if the probe circuit fails due to voltage fluctuations.
“Variable voltages pose a risk to instruments, but we have determined that this is a small risk, and the alternative offers a high reward in being able to keep scientific instruments powered up longerSuzanne Dodd, Voyager’s project manager, said in a press release.
“We’ve been monitoring the spacecraft for a few weeks now and this new approach seems to work.“, Add.
NASA does not rule out using this other strategy on Voyager 1 as well, a decision that they will have to make no later than 2024.