Feeds

Voyager 2 finally agrees to a long hard thrust

Probe takes light-ages to return boffins' calls

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Voyager 2 has finally gotten back to NASA to let engineers know that its switch to back-up thrusters was successful.

Artist's impression of Voyager 1 and 2 in the heliosheath Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist's impression of Voyager 1 and 2 in the heliosheath Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The space agency sent the signal last week to advise the old explorer to switch to back-up thrusters in order to conserve energy so it can continue its voyage for another decade.

Although NASA knew Voyager 2 had accepted the command, the ship took all this time to do the swap and then let the space boffins know it had managed the change. Which isn't all that surprising really, since the message was sent when the craft was around 9 billion miles (14.5 billion km), or 13 hrs 29 mins 52 secs light travel time away from Earth.

The agency wanted Voyager 2 to switch to its back-up thrusters so it would use less energy and thereby last longer. Switching to the back-ups means that the craft can turn off the heater it was using to keep the fuel line to the primary thrusters warm.

"Although the rate of energy generated by Voyager 2's nuclear power source continues to decline, by reducing its power requirements, engineers expect the spacecraft can continue to operate for another decade," NASA said in a statement.

Both Voyagers 1 and 2 are currently at the outer limits of our solar system, in the region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our Sun. They will soon reach interstellar space, the space between the stars. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.