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  • Writer's pictureJames Paulson

Voyager 2 is Alive

Voyager 2 is now 12 billion miles from Earth. It was launched on August 20, 1977, some 46 years ago and only recently lost contact wit the Earth due to an errant signal sent to the craft. But it has since been heard and now controllers will attempt to direct it from the ground.

If the ground is not able to send the command, in October, Voyager will perform a reset and locate the Earth and signal at that time and as of right now, all indicators are that it will complete that just fine.

Voyager is one of NASA's most successful programs. Having flown by and ducumented the solar system at Jupiter (1979), Saturn (1981), Uranus (1986) and finally Neptune (1989), the pair of spaceraft, launched only 16 days apart in 1977 continue to explore deeper and deeper into space. Voyager 1 is now 15 billion miles from Earth.

To me it is absolutely mind boggling that we can detect a radio signal from something that far out in space. According to my research, the onboard transmitter is about 20 watts sent through a high gain antenna. And the ears down here on Earth are very capable of tracking this signal deep out in space.

I often wonder if we had to build these things today if we could build them as well. These spaceraft were not designed for much of this, and the fact that they are still going, having outlived all of the engineers who designed and built them is in itself a testament to how we used to do things. It is nothing short of amazing.

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