Houston, we have a problem: NASA loses contact with Voyager 2

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Voyager 2 is roughly 12,400,000,000 miles from Earth and has been operating for over 45 years, according to NASA’s mission report. While the spacecraft just recently got updates to extend its lifetime of service, NASA has actually exposed that the area probe is now running in the dark as it inadvertently cut off interactions with the probe earlier this month.

According to the development upgrade, NASA states that commands sent out to the probe inadvertently caused it to move its antenna two degrees away from Earth. While 2 degrees may not sound like much, it is ample distance for the communication systems on Earth to lose Voyager 2’s signal, implying the probe is completely cut off from NASA commands.

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While this might show an issue, NASA thinks that Voyager 2 ought to continue its present trajectory without problem till the probe self-regulates and rearranges itself to resume contact with Earth. That’s because the spacecraft is configured to reset its orientation numerous times each year to ensure optimum interactions prospective and to keep its antenna pointed at Earth.

Currently, the next change date is set for October 15, at which point NASA thinks communication will resume without problem. As noted above, Voyager 2 is over 12 billion miles from Earth. Voyager 1, the probe’s sibling, is practically 15 billion miles away and continues to operate usually and without concern.

While there are concerns over Voyager 2’s signal being lost, NASA continues to wait its belief that the probe will continue as it has, gaining info about the location of area beyond our solar system, which it will have the ability to transfer back to us when interaction resumes in October.

If things do not go as planned, we can at least rest simple understanding the probe has run for almost 46 years, teaching us more about our universe than any other probes we’ve launched thus far.

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