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NASA extends Voyager 2's interstellar mission (now 49 years)

NASA extends Voyager 2's interstellar mission (now 49 years)

Thanks to a series of upgrades, NASA scientists have been able to expand the Voyager 2 probe's mission into interstellar space

More than 20 billion kilometers from Earth, VOyager 2 It is so far away that NASA's signals take more than 22 hours to reach the probe. As its power gradually diminished, mission engineers thought they would have to turn off one of its five scientific instruments. But the recently implemented plan has led to a “welcome delay.”

Voyager 2
Artistic representation Voyager 2 probe While traveling through interstellar space. Credit: NASA

What happened

The probe is now redirecting a small amount of energy intended for the on-board safety system: this causes all five science instruments on board Voyager 2 to They can remain active until 2026According to a press release from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (thus reaching at least 49 years of mission). The probe, along with its twin companion Voyager 1, is the longest-lived spacecraft ever built and launched by humans (still operational). Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 visited several planets in the outer solar system before reaching the outer edges of the heliosphere, the bubble-like protective zone of space that surrounds the sun and protects us from harmful radiation streaming in from interstellar space. The probes are still active and collecting unprecedented data about the heliosphere and its protective properties. Here's an interesting insight into that Interstellar space.

Voyager 1, Voyager 2
location sin. Credit: NASA

One of the greatest successes in the history of spaceflight has gotten some major improvements, and for that we should all be very grateful. It's incredible, but after all these years NASA is still able to extend the mission of these pioneering probes. Have a good trip, Aspera Ad Astra.

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