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NASA hears signal from Voyager 2 spacecraft

NASA hears signal from Voyager 2 spacecraft after mistakenly cutting contact

Voyager 2 had been out of touch since flight controllers accidentally sent a wrong command more than a week ago that tilted its antenna away from Earth.

After days of silence, NASA has heard from Voyager 2 in interstellar space billions of miles away.Related video above: NASA Releases New Ultraviolet Images Of MarsFlight controllers accidentally sent a wrong command nearly two weeks ago that tilted the spacecraft’s antenna away from Earth and severed contact.NASA’s Deep Space Network, giant radio antennas across the globe, picked up a “heartbeat signal,” meaning the 46-year-old craft is alive and operating, project manager Suzanne Dodd said in an email Tuesday.The news “buoyed our spirits,” Dodd said. Flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California will now try to turn Voyager 2’s antenna back toward Earth.If the command doesn’t work — and controllers doubt it will — they’ll have to wait until October for an automatic spacecraft reset. The antenna is only 2% off-kilter.“That is a long time to wait, so we’ll try sending up commands several times” before then, Dodd said.Voyager 2 rocketed into space in 1977, along with its identical twin Voyager 1, on a quest to explore the outer planets.Still communicating and working fine, Voyager 1 is now 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth, making it the most distant spacecraft.Voyager 2 trails its twin in interstellar space at more than 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from Earth. At that distance, it takes more than 18 hours for a signal to travel one way.

After days of silence, NASA has heard from Voyager 2 in interstellar space billions of miles away.

Related video above: NASA Releases New Ultraviolet Images Of Mars

Flight controllers accidentally sent a wrong command nearly two weeks ago that tilted the spacecraft’s antenna away from Earth and severed contact.

NASA’s Deep Space Network, giant radio antennas across the globe, picked up a “heartbeat signal,” meaning the 46-year-old craft is alive and operating, project manager Suzanne Dodd said in an email Tuesday.

The news “buoyed our spirits,” Dodd said. Flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California will now try to turn Voyager 2’s antenna back toward Earth.

If the command doesn’t work — and controllers doubt it will — they’ll have to wait until October for an automatic spacecraft reset. The antenna is only 2% off-kilter.

“That is a long time to wait, so we’ll try sending up commands several times” before then, Dodd said.

Voyager 2 rocketed into space in 1977, along with its identical twin Voyager 1, on a quest to explore the outer planets.

Still communicating and working fine, Voyager 1 is now 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth, making it the most distant spacecraft.

Voyager 2 trails its twin in interstellar space at more than 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from Earth. At that distance, it takes more than 18 hours for a signal to travel one way.

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