NASA launched the Voyager 2 space probe into space almost half a century ago, in 1977, with the purpose of exploring the outer planets. Even though our solar system has some extremely rare sightings and exploring it fully is for the moment utopic, Voyager 2 has been traveling an incredible huge distance. At this moment, the space probe is 11.5 billion miles away from Earth.
On January 28, NASA lost contact with Voyager 2, and some people thought that it was for good. No, it wasn’t shut down by any aliens. But after only a week, on February 5, the notorious American space agency announced via Twitter that its “toy” is back in business:
Good vibes! Voyager 2 continues to be stable, and communications between Earth and the spacecraft are fine.
My twin is back to taking science data, and the team at @NASAJPL is evaluating the health of the instruments following their brief shutoff.
More precisely, the message comes from Voyager 1’s account, the “sister” of Voyager 2. The two have been traveling through the solar system and beyond, providing the humanity precious info about our planets.
34 hours for an information relay
Voyager 2 is the furthest away object made by humans: 11.5 billion miles from Earth. Not even light can travel such a distance instantaneously as it does on our planet. Therefore, judging by the speed of light and the huge distance that separates us from Voyager 2, we can easily conclude that it takes 17 hours for a single piece of information to reach the spacecraft. Furthermore, an information relay will be possible in a double amount of time: 34 hours.
Now, all we can do is wait and see what other important info will Voyager 2 be bringing to us. If it all goes according to the plan, the spacecraft has five years left to do its job as well as possible.