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Space Nuclear Engine Tests

The Voyager 1 and 2 missions are considered one of the most exciting successes in the history of space exploration. Voyager 1 was launched in September 1977, 16 days after the launch of Voyager 2. However, there is no confusion in the naming, because Voyager 1 – despite being the second hoop – outperformed the twin spacecraft.

Today, both probes are 45 years old, but they are still working and conducting research. Currently (Voyager 1 from 2012, Voyager 2 from 2018) is already outside the boundaries of the solar system – in interstellar space.

NASA at the end of the Voyager probes. He will try to extend their lives

However, there are many indications that their time is running out. As we read in Scientific American, engineers NASA In the coming weeks or months, they will gradually turn off individual items from Voyager’s sensors. In this way, scientists want to reduce energy consumption and extend their lives.

All because organisms are powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators that produce relatively little energy Electricity (We describe the principle of its operation during the flight of a persistent rover equipped with a similar generator). In addition, its efficiency gradually decreases over the years, and soon it will not be able to generate enough power for the Voyager probe.

So the researchers want to ensure the right dose of electricity for the main ingredients. Thanks to this – according to the researchers’ calculations – electricity should be enough for basic research and Voyager’s communication with Earth until 2030 at the latest. For the plan to work, nearly everything on board these sensors would have to be shut down.

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In the past three years, the probe team has stopped heating five science probe instruments. Surprisingly, they still work today, despite their work in it Temperatures Much less than the minimum.

It is worth noting that in May this year. NASA has reported minor problems with the Voyager 1 probe. Although the probe is working properly, it is sending strange signals back to Earth from the probe’s positioning system (used to make position corrections). Scientists are currently trying to figure out why the data from this system was falsified.

on me End Curiosity of. The team responsible for building the Voyager sensors outfitted both ships with gold plates (the “Voyager Golden Record”) of images and sounds recorded from Earth. It contains essential information about life on Earth for potential extraterrestrial civilizations or future Earthlings who will be able to find and intercept Voyager.

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