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NASA announces it's fixed a bug that corrupted Voyager 1's messages

Engineers had to rearrange code on one of Voyager's computers to avoid memory corruption. Now its science mission is set to continue.
NASA announces it's fixed a bug that corrupted Voyager 1's messages
Posted at 7:28 PM, Apr 22, 2024

NASA engineers have completed a promising round of tech support on the Voyager 1 space probe, correcting an issue with one of its computers and moving it closer to being ready to transmit science data again.

In November of 2023, NASA started receiving corrupted data from the probe. 

Engineers determined a small section of memory in one of the probe's computers was faulty. That computer ran the code that prepared data for transmission back to Earth. If it couldn't execute its code properly, Voyager wouldn't be able to send readable data home.

The team determined they would have to move the affected code elsewhere in the computer so the damaged memory wouldn't corrupt it.

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So began some of the most extreme troubleshooting efforts ever attempted: They would have to perform remote workarounds on a 46-year-old computer that's more than 15 billion miles away — the most distant human-created object in the universe. The time delay between sending a command and seeing the result was nearly two full days.

Because of the limited storage space available, engineers had to break the code into sections that would fit in different storage areas. They also had to make sure the scattered code could be run in full when it came time to transmit data.

On April 22, NASA announced it had completed the delicate work of rearranging the computer code. It says it will now work toward bringing Voyager's abilities to transmit science data back online to continue its original mission.

The mission's sister probe Voyager 2, meanwhile, is still running normally.


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