NASA deployed the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1977 with the purpose of studying other planets. The probe is currently located at 125 AU (astronomical units) from our planet, while one astronomical unit means the distance between Earth and the Sun. As you’ve already guessed, it’s pretty difficult even for NASA to communicate with the spacecraft at such distance, but it’s not impossible.
Voyager 2 can still communicate with NASA’s Deep Space Network from Earth, which consists of three large radio antenna facilities located in California, Spain, and Australia.
First series of signals since March
Voyager mission managers were able to send a series of signals recently to the famous spacecraft for the first time since March. Voyager 2 replied by confirming that it had received the signals and executed NASA’s commands.
Voyager 2 is the furthest away object created by humans, as it’s located at 11.5 billion miles from Earth. The distance is way too large even for light to travel it instantaneously as it does on our planet. Therefore, judging by the speed of light and the enormous distance that separates our planet from Voyager 2, we can conclude that it takes 17 hours for simple information to reach the spacecraft. This means that an information relay will be possible in a double amount of time: 34 hours.
Voyager 2 continues to travel across interstellar space, and we can realistically hope that it will be bringing new info to us. The spacecraft has five years left to gather enough data and do its job as well as possible.
Voyager 2 was manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it had a cost of $895 million, and it is the only spacecraft to have visited either of the two ice giants Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2 is also the fourth of five spacecraft to achieve the Solar escape velocity, and that allowed it to leave the Solar System.