Nasa has finally been able to reconnect with the Voyager 2 detector, which has been traveling in space since August 1977.
Engineers sent a series of commands to Voyager 2 via a huge radio antenna, which was offline for repairs and upgrades from March.
Voyager 2 received the "call" and carried out the orders, despite being over 11,6 billion miles (18,8 billion kilometers) away from Earth. It is so far away that the engineers had to wait almost 35 hours for an answer.
"This test communication with Voyager 2 shows us that we are on a very good path - we are probably doing well workSaid Brad Arnold, DSN project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Among the upgrades to the transmission plate, called DSS43 and located in Australia, there are two new radio transmitters.
The transmitters have not been replaced for 47 years, but are expected to be made in February 2021.
Engineers also upgraded heating and cooling, power supply equipment and other electronics to operate the transmitters.
“The DSS43 antenna is a very specialized system. "There are only two other similar antennas in the world, so shutting down the antenna for a year is not the ideal scenario for Voyager or many other NASA missions," said Philip Baldwin, director operational for the program "Space Communications and NavigationNasa (SCaN).
"The agency decided to carry out these upgrades to ensure that the antenna can continue to be used for current and future missions. In an antenna that is almost 50 years old, it is best to be proactive ενέργειες rather than being surprised. ”
In addition to contact with Voyager 2, dish repairs will have other benefits for future shipments to Mars.
It will be used to send Mars Perseverance when rover will land on the Red Planet in February 2021.