The Voyager 1 interplanetary probe was released in 1977 and has now attained interstellar place wherever it is the furthest-traveled male-designed object. It’s hugely exceeded its original mission and proceeds to return important scientific knowledge, but there is an clear fault which is leaving its controllers perplexed. Onboard is an angle command program which retains the craft’s antennas pointing at Earth, and when it evidently continue to will work (as we’re nonetheless in contact with the probe) and other programs are fantastic, it’s started out returning incomprehensible information. Evidently it’s designed a pattern of reporting random facts, or states the antenna cannot potentially be in.
That a 45 yr aged laptop or computer is nonetheless functioning at all is testament to the expertise of its designers, and at 14.5 billion miles away a repair is impossible however substantially we’d be fascinated to know about the failure modes of previous electronics in house. It is postulated that they may possibly just live with the fault if the technique is however working, situation a software program take care of, or discover some way to use a single of the craft’s redundant methods to prevent the trouble. Meanwhile we can relaxation very easily in our beds, simply because we’re continue to a pair of generations absent from its return as a big alien sentient equipment.
We have featured the Voyager software a number of instances just before right here at Hackaday, not the very least when we took a shut seem at a single of its instruments.
Thanks [Jon Woodcock] for the suggestion.