back to article NASA tells Voyager 2 to save its strength

Voyager 2 is conserving energy by using its back-up thrusters as it continues to boldly go where no spaceship has gone before. The second of NASA's explorers of the space beyond our solar system has accepted commands from the space agency's Deep Space Network personnel to switch to the back-up thrusters that control the roll of …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Stop

Enhanced Probe or Space Alien Gunnery Target?

So .. what are we ceeding on our decendants?

- A super trancendentally evolving probe that returns to us in a few centuries to find us still punting bits of junk into low orbit, at which point it scans us and disappears into some higher dimensional state?

- A bit of interstellar garbage for some space alien to take a pot-shot at

- A lure that will bring untold woe when brain-sucking aliens follow its helpful "come see us soon" information plaque.

3
8
Anonymous Coward

Yep, either way we're knackered. Whats wrong with sending out a probe just to record data?

0
0
Devil

"brain-sucking aliens"

Won't get more than a light snack down here then.

(That's not a demon head, that's a red space ship with a pair of laser guns and a pair of searchlights...)

2
0
Thumb Up

"Right now, Voyager 2 is located around 14 billion kilometres from Earth in the heliosheath"

Just thinking about the sheer distance involved and sending Voyager a message, it acting on it and confirming this back, just makes my mind boggle!

26
0
Pint

Just under 13 hours..

.. to send a message to it (at the speed of light), and a further 13 hours to receive it's reply - one whole Earth day and a couple of hours on top to await each response. That's one hell of a round trip time. The latency on the console must be awful...

Nasa's web page on this project show it travelling at over 56,000 kph (35,000 mph). You won't get that kind of speed on the M25 during a busy afternoon, I can tell you...

2
1

Lag

It's about a 26 hour round trip, just about bearable for unambiguous commands with a reasonable confidence of correct response. Would have thought it would be longer than that, in fairness. Not too bad a routine for the techs: come into the office, send a message, pick up the reply a little later the next day.

0
0
Alien

Time

I figure it takes about 13 hours for messages to get to or from Voyager. Pretty bad network latency. ;)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Just thinking about the sheer distance involved..."

Lucky it was sent BEFORE Windows was written !

9
1
Boffin

Mind duly boggled.

14,000,000,000 kilometres* turns out to be 12.97 light-hours.

*we should be using megametres at these distances, surely...

0
0
Joke

There...

C:\>ping voyager2.nasa.gov -w 100000000

Pinging voyager2.nasa.gov [193.170.140.78] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

15
0
Silver badge

Still a heck of a lot faster than getting a reply back from EDF's customer services department in Exeter.

4
0
Silver badge
Joke

Even more impressive....

NASA didn't get "the party you have called has left the area of cellphone reception. Please call again later!"

Does Voyager have the old pre-MCI AT&T contract or something, when Ma Bell ruled the universe??

0
0

What?

You've had a reply?

Lucky bar steward.

0
0
Paris Hilton

Just Remember

When these voyagers were sent on their way in 1977 the 14k4 modem hadn't been born. Even a 300 baud modem was rocket science (hmm, pun intended I think...) back in those days. But what I'm surprised about is that they found room for an old GPO telephone handset so that they could attach the suckers.

Sorry, I'm getting old. Way to go Voyagers!

Paris, because I mentioned suckers and I think I'd be happy if she were a sucker.

0
0
Angel

Heliosheath

Now THAT makes my mind boggle....

How does that relate to making Space Exploration Safer??

0
0
Joke

Pinging Voyager

Well I pinged that address and got nothing...So I guess it has just turned off the reply to save even more power...aha....WTF It's coming back at us....Turn your iphones off nowwwwwww

Pinging voyager2.nasa.gov [193.170.140.78] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=1005400000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=1005400000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=1005400000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=93600000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=84500000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=49200000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=25900000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=10200000ms TTL=56

Reply from 193.170.140.78: bytes=32 time=3600000ms TTL=56

0
0
Yag

Ping?

The launch of Voyager 2 occured 6 years before PING was even invented.

And ethernet itself was brand new high tech on those days...

it leave me almost speechless to consider the huge technological gap we jumped in about a single generation...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Pretty bad network latency

you don't have talktalk do you?

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Ping times

It's travelling away from us at about 15.5km/s, so ping times will be increasing with roughly 50ns per second. 20 pings and you'd see the last digit change (dismissing normal network delay variability)

0
0
Bronze badge

nice. I like it

u could probably reduce that TTL safely. Or has it been dropping routers on the way out ?

stu

p.s. I reckon I could actually win against voyager2 in COD MW3 with that ping!

0
0

I guess they're using OS/360 ;)

0
0
Unhappy

Wow...

Remember when the idea of spaceflight was romantic?

5
0
Silver badge

Not commonplace yet

I still think that any manned space flight is very impressive. I think even you would be impressed if you were strapped to the top of rocket with the fuse lit and the sky beckoning!

Terry Pratchett in one of his book pointed out just how weird we are. Boredom - we're the only species to have it so bad that walking on the moon became not worth the TV air time after just two landings.

NASA have been stunningly successful in their unmanned program. Pretty much all of their deep space probes have sent back amazing results. And in the case of Voyager, it still is.

5
0
Silver badge

Not always, they've had some superb failures too... Like mixing up the units for the mars probe, and smashing it into the surface, or did it miss the planet entirely? Can't remember which.

I really have no idea what kind of crazy fool would even think of doing scientific calculations with imperial units, but it appears NASA do/did.

1
0
Bronze badge
Coat

imperial units ?

AFAIK, the calculations were outsourced... Nuff sed. Imperial units would be appropriate if Darth was the project manager though

Mines the one with the Star Ship Troopers in the left pocket

0
0
Bronze badge

Consider the difficulties inherent in Roman numerals.. V, IV, III, II, I, .... Liftoff!

1
0

Yet some people will happily watch 22 men kicking a pig's bladder round a field every week.

3
0

Re: Consider the difficulties inherent in Roman numerals

Vee, aye vee, aye aye aye, aye aye, aye......Blastoff!

0
0
Silver badge

@atomic jam

You appear to have a Jewish Scotsman doing your countdown!

0
0
Boffin

Instant remote control

In relation to the challenge of controlling a space probe at such great distances; I believe it would actually be possible (not necessarily practical) to use a series of on board 'delayed choice' experiments to issue instantaneous binary commands to a remote space probe, effectively bypassing the traditional dimensional limitations of space & time.

Discuss...

0
0
Coat

Just waiting for...

...the clunk. You know, like in The Truman Show.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

If 12 watts of power will last 10 years

I'm gunna ask nasa if they have any ideas to keep my electricity bill down

1
0
Anonymous Coward

12w is only the reduction on total power (The power plant is fading over time) reducing the load will enable it too keep running without browning out. As the power plant and supply fades you have to keep turning the power drain down by turning things off..

Voyage was able to produce 470W at launch now it is down to just 270W

(See: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-341&rn=news.xml&rst=3189)

Note that the 200 watts lost over 34 years is on a diminishing scale, not linear (meaning less is lost each year) so this 12w saving will last longer than it may appear.

0
1
Thumb Up

Damn, it's 34 years old and still going!

NASA should be making cars, computers and toasters. If only those worked flawlessly for 10 years, nevermind 34 years!

By my calculation a command takes 13 hours to travel from Earth to Voyager's current location. So NASA have to wait at least 26 hours after transmission to see if Voyager received it!

2
0

If you want NASA to make toasters,

They probably would last 34 years, be prepared to pay between $100,000 and $10,000,000 per slice, depending on how thick the bread is and how far you want it to pop up.

1
0
Mushroom

mdk2 reference:

atomic toaster + bread = atomic toast :)

0
0
Silver badge
Pint

Toasters?

Would it launch your bread into geostationary orbit?

0
0

I have a Panasonic rice cooker

that a GF gave me as a going away present some 31 years ago. Still working, only the neon control light has failed.

0
0
Thumb Up

Badass probe

Voyager 2 is the Chuck Norris of space hardware.

1
0
EWI

"Voyager 2 is the Chuck Norris of space hardware."

Well, no - because it can actually do what it claims to do... (and hasn't yet beamed back its opinion that Obama is a illegal space alien)

1
0

"turning on the last set, which control its roll, will allow engineers to turn off the heater that keeps the fuel line to the primary thruster warm, NASA said."

I'm surprised there's enough sunlight at that distance to keep the fuel line warm.

0
1
LDS
Silver badge

No sunlight there. And no solar panels on Voyager.

It's the nuclear thermal generator that keeps the probe "warm".

Aaaah, when NASA could builld hardware and software that actually works.... and thought about the future, not when Apollo was the past, not the future... now they only think how they could put together another Apollo just with some new LCD panels to make it look "futuristic" - just their scratching their heads to understand how those engineers in the sixties without iPhones and iPads have been able to put Apollo and Saturn together and make it work... probably because of the lack of them. Much more time available to understand how to make hardware work.

0
1

There isn't enough sunlight out there, our sun looks like a star. So it uses radiothermal generators. The fuel is plutonium, and as it decays, over the years, the power output drops. So now they have nowhere the power they started with.

The biggest risk with RTGs seem to be people stealing the outer casings for scrap value, luckily the Voyagers have adequate theft protection.

0
0

That's what i thought, but the article says "will allow engineers to turn off the heater that keeps the fuel line to the primary thruster warm". And that this has been replaced by controlling its roll. How can rolling the ship keep it warm so far from the sun?

0
0

Voyage has 2 sets of control thrusters, they are turning off the primary system to save power, but there will be no backup if the operating one fails.

They roll the ship to perform experiments, then point the dish back towards earth to transmit the results.

Also to compensate for changes in attitude due to external factors, e.g. being hit by micrometeors.

0
0

Assumptions

I assumed this meant that the fuel pipe that did not have any nice warm fuel flowing down it was being kept warm by the heater.

As it is now in use the fuel should be enough to keep it warm.

0
1
Stop

Why would the fuel in the tank be warm?

It has been stored at a pretty low ambient temperature for over thirty years!

0
0
FAIL

Because the ambient temperature around the spacecraft is about -260 deg C and the fuel would freeze if it wasn't heated.

0
0
FAIL

Well done.

Yes. But it obviously isn't 'warm' enough to keep the pipes from freezing which is why they need a heater on the pipes to start with!

0
0
Gold badge
Joke

13 hours to get a message through.

I'm sure there are some hell desks that it has taken longer to get through to.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums