Feeds

Voyager 2 finally agrees to a long hard thrust

Probe takes light-ages to return boffins' calls

The next step in data security

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.