Voyager 1 probe fires long-dormant thrusters in interstellar space

04 December, 2017, 01:28 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • Artist's impression of Oumuamua the first confirmed interstellar asteroid

United States space agency NASA has successfully fired up a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft after 37 years of being unused. At 13 billion miles from Earth, there's no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up.

Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 and flew past Jupiter and Saturn in 1979 and 1980 respectively. It reached interstellar space in 2012, making it the first object made by humans to leave our solar system.

Artist's depiction of the Voyager spacecraft.

Ever since Voyager 1-NASA's farthest spacecraft- was launched, it has relied on its primary thrusters, called "attitude control thrusters".

New England Patriots closing in on AFC East title
Stephen Gostkowski is a flawless 3 for 3 on field goal attempts, with a long of 50 yards in the windy conditions in western NY . Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore returned to Buffalo for the first time since leaving the team in free agency during the offseason.

Scientists first noticed the spacecraft's main thrusters were degrading in 2014.

The thrusts lasted a mere 10-milliseconds, but due to the colossal distance between the probe and its home planet the commands took 19 hours and 35 minutes to reach Voyager. These are located on the back of the spacecraft and are identical to the thrusters that they've used so far.

"With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years", said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on Friday.

Humanity's most distant spacecraft surprised its operators by answering the call to fire up rockets that have not been used in nearly 40 years.

Search For Missing Argentine Sub No Longer A Rescue Mission, Navy Says
Authorities have said the level of maintenance, not the age, was what mattered, and that the vessel was in good condition. During the $12 million retrofitting, the vessel was cut in half and had its engines and batteries replaced.

But after decades of operation, the "attitude control thrusters" that turn the spacecraft by firing tiny "puffs" had degraded.

On Wednesday, the engineers "learned the TCM thrusters worked perfectly - and just as well as the attitude control thrusters", said NASA.

The Voyager team now wants to change over to the TCM thrusters in January, during a process where the spacecraft has to switch on a heater for each thruster, which needs power - a scarce resource for this aging mission.

Barber, a JPL propulsion engineer, said that the Voyager team got more thrilled each time with each milestone in the thruster experiment. Its fellow spacecraft, Voyager 2, is on its way there, too - and both carry a small American flag and a "Golden Record", which is packed with mementos from Earth in the form of pictures and sounds. The Voyager missions are a part of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Big Sam brought in to steady the ship at struggling Everton
Everton are set to hire Sam Allardyce as manager, ending a prolonged search following the October sacking of Ronald Koeman. Everton are now two points above the relegation zone going into Wednesday night's match against West Ham.

The test went so well that not only will Voyager 1 be switching over to the backup thrusters until there's no longer enough power to keep them warm, but they're looking into to doing the same thing for its twin, Voyager 2 - after proper testing, of course. The attitude control thrusters now used for Voyager 2 are not yet as degraded as Voyager 1's, however.

Recommended:

  • Jimbo Fisher Resigns At Florida State To Take Texas A&M Job

    Jimbo Fisher Resigns At Florida State To Take Texas A&M Job

    Texas A&M last won a conference championship in 1998 when the Aggies were members of the Big 12. Taggart, who grew up in Bradenton, Florida, went 7-5 in his first season at Oregon .
    Cardi B Confirms Release Date For Hotly-Anticipated Debut Album

    Cardi B Confirms Release Date For Hotly-Anticipated Debut Album

    Some people took a dim view of the models using the n-word, no matter how unintentional it apparently was. Requests for comment made to Victoria's Secret , Cardi B and Kloss were not returned by publication time.
    History Made: 2017 Atlantic hurricane season in review

    History Made: 2017 Atlantic hurricane season in review

    The worst hurricanes were Harvey , Irma and Maria, each of which reached Category-5 strength and made landfall on US territory. Also outside of the continental US, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm.
  • This weekend: Supermoon. Coming soon: Blue moon

    This weekend: Supermoon. Coming soon: Blue moon

    According to scientists the "peak" astronomical events will occur at 19:49. 2017's only supermoon will begin around 7 p.m. If you won't be able to witness the Supermoon on Sunday, don't worry because there will be a few more in the near future.
    NCAA extends bowl ban for Ole Miss and issues other penalties

    NCAA extends bowl ban for Ole Miss and issues other penalties

    All show-cause penalties, which would stick with a coach for a specified period of time, were issued to former Rebel coaches. According to the NCAA's official report, the three-year probation period is from December 1, 2018, to November 30, 2020.
    Trump lights National Christmas Tree for first time

    Trump lights National Christmas Tree for first time

    Among the new touches this year: On the outside, wreaths topped with red bows adorn every White House window. It was in that first year that organizers officially deemed the tree the "National Christmas Tree".
  • Woods confirms comeback with second round 68

    Woods confirms comeback with second round 68

    Tiger Woods made the turn at one under par in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge at the Albany resort in the Bahamas. The tournament scoreboard is here.
    Missing Columbia County teen found safe

    Missing Columbia County teen found safe

    The sheriff's office said Frisina and Rodriguez are possibly traveling in a red Mercury Sable with Florida tag number Z04CSC. Caitlyn Frisina's parents discovered their 17-year-old daughter was missing from their Florida home Sunday morning.
    Asus unveils Zenfone Max Plus(M1) with dual cameras, 18:9 FullHD

    Asus unveils Zenfone Max Plus(M1) with dual cameras, 18:9 FullHD

    To begin with, the handset is listed in Russian Federation but is expected to launch in other markets within the next few days. The handset also features a fingerprint scanner and would come in Black Wave, Azure Silvery, and Sunny Golden colored options.
  • Man United boss Jose Mourinho discusses Pep Guardiola avoiding ban

    Man United boss Jose Mourinho discusses Pep Guardiola avoiding ban

    "What Redmond said in his statement, I admire him as a player and thank him for his comments", he added . Guardiola said: "I have played against millions of managers and the different ways they play".
    Iranians killed in 'Israeli strike' in Syria, Arabic Media reports

    Iranians killed in 'Israeli strike' in Syria, Arabic Media reports

    Earlier, a senior Israeli official vowed to bomb Syrian President's palace if Hezbollah continued to expand its sway over Syria. The "blatant assault" led to material losses at the site in the countryside around the capital, it said, Al Jazeera reported.
    Teenager 'goes too far' in quest to look like Angelina Jolie

    Teenager 'goes too far' in quest to look like Angelina Jolie

    It reported that she has lost 40kg and "undergone dozens of procedures" in the space of just a few months to look like Angelina. There have been many such incidents in the past when superfans underwent surgeries to look like their favourites celebrities.


Popular

Alshon Jeffery signs four-year extension with Philadelphia
Jeffery's contract will have $27 million guaranteed and the deal can ultimately be worth $56 million with additional incentives. The 2014 Pro Bowl wideout ranks eighth in the National Football League with 4,801 receiving yards since 2013.

Yemen's Houthis: Saleh's overture to Saudi 'a coup'
The reaction is another sign of a developing riftamong rebel groups in the Yemen civil war. But Houthi rebels, his allies until this week, accused him of a "coup".

Jay-Z, other rap and R&B artists, lead Grammy nominations
Despite the (mostly) quality major categories, the Academy did what it does best and still find a way to screw it up. Meanwhile this year, Jay-Z is the leader of the pack, as he gained the most nominations for the 2018 Grammys.

Israeli settler shoots dead Palestinian in West Bank
However, al-Jazeera said the Palestinian crowd only began throwing stones in reaction to Oudeh being shot. A 48 year-old man, named by Palestinian media as Mahmoud Ahmad Zaal Odeh, was killed.

Doeren agrees to new contract with NC State through 2022
Among the 12 publicly available contracts, Doeren's current deal ranks 10th in the ACC , according to the USA Today database. According to Wolken, Doeren even had his assistants cancel planned recruiting trips for that Sunday.

German Christmas market evacuated after suspicious package found
Security has been stepped up at all markets across Germany ahead of that anniversary, and the looming first Advent weekend. What was found in the suspicious package? Police confirmed the device was an IED, and evacuated the area.

Honor 7X Sale Starts From December 7 From 12.00 PM Onwards
The smartphone has a thin-bezel, 5.93-inch full view display with 18:9 aspect ratio and full-HD+ (2160 X 1080 pixels) resolution. In the Arsenal of the Huawei Honor features a 7X Kirin processor 659, 4 GB of RAM and a battery capacity of 3340 mAh.

'Mindhunter': Netflix Hit Renewed for Season 2
Next year we're looking at the Atlanta child murders, so we'll have a lot more African-American music which will be nice. They interview and analyze serial killers who have been caught, in hopes of applying their findings to solve open cases.

Reliance Jio is offering Rs 1000 cashback on Xiaomi Redmi 5A
It is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with either 2GB RAM or 3GB RAM and either 16GB or 32GB storage . Already, the Redmi 5A's price is attractive, and with this offer, Xiaomi is helping Reliance Jio to build its customer base.

Delhi most unsafe for tourists; 1226 cases lodged against foreigners in India
Maharashtra accounted for 19.3 per cent of all cyber crime cases registered in the country previous year , with 2,380 cases. Mumbai also had the second highest number of rape cases, at 712 cases, after Delhi that had 1,996 cases.