NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, nearly ten years after its final planetary encounter, suddenly goes quiet. For 66 hours, the space probe returns no signal or telemetry data to Earth, while engineers on the ground send 720 commands to Voyager 2 to begin transmitting again. When Voyager 2 does re-establish communications with Earth, it has switched to a backup transmitter, and the temperature of some on-board components is warmer than expected. The spacecraft has not gone into a safe mode, but reports receiving only 19 of the 720 commands to transmit. At nearly six billion miles from Earth, Voyager 2 is heading for the edge of the solar system at 35,000 miles per hour, and is expected to remain functional into the 2020s, provided the spacecraft experiences no further major faults.
Voyager 2’s silent scare
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