46 year old Voyager 1 once again sending real data

  • #1
phinds
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Voyager 1 once again sending real data after months of meaningless bits
After 5 months of sending a repeating loop of meaningless bits, the 46 year old Voyager 1 is back to sending actual data.

https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/22/world/voyager-1-communication-issue-cause-fix-scn/index.html

The NASA engineering team fixed it

On April 20, the team received Voyager 1’s response indicating that the clever code modification had worked, and they could finally receive readable engineering data from the probe once more.
 
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  • #2
So what does the Voyager report on? Is it giving like temperature? GPS coordinates? What it did last night?
 
  • #3
There’s still a few instruments like particle detectors and I think a magnetometer that they use to study the interstellar medium, iirc.
 
  • #5
It measures magnetic field, and properties of the incoming radiation. Everything else is switched off.
 
  • #6
Greg Bernhardt said:
Fantastic news! What is the time delay on getting the data back?
Well, you could have read the article I linked to
1714084848297.png
 
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  • #7
Flyboy said:
There’s still a few instruments like particle detectors and I think a magnetometer that they use to study the interstellar medium, iirc.
Why is magnetic field information important there? The particle detection is to estimate the density of particles?
 
  • #8
pines-demon said:
Why is magnetic field information important there?
Are you proposing that we fly the spacecraft back to earth, remove the instrument and send it out again? :smile:
 
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  • #9
Vanadium 50 said:
Are you proposing that we fly the spacecraft back to earth, remove the instrument and send it out again? :smile:
Maybe, that way it can travel more lightly, I mean, what is a couple of billion km anyway?
 
  • #10
phinds said:
Well, you could have read the article I linked to
View attachment 344044
It really puts things into scale when you compare that'enormous distance' with the nearest star, that's four light years distant
pines-demon said:
Why is magnetic field information important there? The particle detection is to estimate the density of particles?
It's hard to 'justify' a decision about the experiments on a mission that was launched all those years ago. I imagine there were dozens of groups who wanted a ride on the mission and the final selectiion of experiments would have been based on what could be done, how heavy would the gear be and what electrical load would be needed. And, of course, the expected reliability - they got that one right didn't they?
 
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  • #11
If we were designing a probe of the ISM, it wouldn't look like the Pioneers/Voyagers. But these were planetary probes that, in some cases, managed to reach the ISM without going belly-up.

At the risk of sounding Rumsfeldian, you go to deep space with the instrument you have, not the instrument you wish you had.
 
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  • #12
I may have interpreted @pines-demon 's question a bit differently; with the sensors that are available, what is worth keeping on and why? Some things - like cameras - would be almost completely useless and high bandwidth, so no point to them. Information about the sun's magnetic field is still useful though:

https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/news/details.php?article_id=11
 
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  • #13
russ_watters said:
I may have interpreted @pines-demon 's question a bit differently; with the sensors that are available, what is worth keeping on and why? Some things - like cameras - would be almost completely useless and high bandwidth, so no point to them. Information about the sun's magnetic field is still useful though:

https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/news/details.php?article_id=11
Yes. However can we detect the sun magnetic field at that distance?? Do you mean solar wind?
 
  • #14
pines-demon said:
Yes. However can we detect the sun magnetic field at that distance?? Do you mean solar wind?
Google is your friend. You should learn to use it.

1714159728299.png
 
  • #15
Well, lets take magnetic fields. It is probably not substantially better to have continuous measurement than, say, weekly. But it's not like turning it on and off weekly is not going to increase the lifetime (probably the reverse) and an RTG is not a battery: if you don't use the power now, you can't use it later.

So you get what you get.
 
  • #16
phinds said:
Google is your friend. You should learn to use it.

View attachment 344096
Try again, also from a search away:
Screen Shot 2024-04-26 at 22.19.27.png

My question is what is about what is measuring now...
 
  • #17
Vanadium 50 said:
Well, lets take magnetic fields. It is probably not substantially better to have continuous measurement than, say, weekly. But it's not like turning it on and off weekly is not going to increase the lifetime (probably the reverse) and an RTG is not a battery: if you don't use the power now, you can't use it later.

So you get what you get.
You do have a point, all those measurements served for something now it just has them so why not. But at some point it is mostly noise. Reconverting my question: could the result of any of those measurements be of interest? Or it is mostly data that is being reported in case there something unusual at some point...
 
  • #18
pines-demon said:
My question is what is about what is measuring now...
According to my first clip, the sun's magnetic field goes out is 18.5 billion miles, I'd say it's still measuring the sun's magnetic field since Voyager is only out 15.5 billion miles

1714164874599.png
 
  • #19
pines-demon said:
Yes. However can we detect the sun magnetic field at that distance?? Do you mean solar wind?
You detect it from in it. So it is reading the field strength at that distance/ location.
 
  • #20
russ_watters said:
You detect it from in it. So it is reading the field strength at that distance/ location.
The question is now, is it important? Can somebody provide an order of magnitude?
 
  • #21
russ_watters said:
I may have interpreted @pines-demon 's question a bit differently; with the sensors that are available, what is worth keeping on and why? Some things - like cameras - would be almost completely useless and high bandwidth, so no point to them. Information about the sun's magnetic field is still useful though:

https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/news/details.php?article_id=11
According to Wikipedia, the Voyager did get rid of various instruments. Including the cameras.
 
  • #22
phinds said:
According to my first clip, the sun's magnetic field goes out is 18.5 billion miles, I'd say it's still measuring the sun's magnetic field since Voyager is only out 15.5 billion miles

View attachment 344114
Check those numbers again 15.1 billion miles is bigger than 18.5 billion km
 
  • #23
pines-demon said:
The question is now, is it important? Can somebody provide an order of magnitude?
I don't understand the question.
 
  • #24
russ_watters said:
I don't understand the question.
What is the magnetic field measured in that region of space. Is is 1 nT, 1 attoT? Is it relevant at all?
 
  • #25
pines-demon said:
Check those numbers again 15.1 billion miles is bigger than 18.5 billion km
egg_small.jpg


Damned units ! o:)
 
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  • #26
pines-demon said:
Is it relevant at all?
How 'small' a reading would be irrelevant? There are no 'zeros' out there and every value of every variable has its place. Our lives on Earth are governed by many variables and we are familiar with some (like g and the solar constant) but the variables in most of outer space have much lower values. But it's the exact values of all those variables that determines how galaxies are formed etc. etc. If you have any interest in such matters then you should be aware of the relevance of very small values.
 
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  • #27
What is "interesting"? Interesting to the man on the street? Or interesting to the grad student who is using the data for her thesis?
 
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  • #28
Vanadium 50 said:
Interesting to the man on the street?
That guy just doesn't count here. 'He' is protected by the experts who recognise when something is interesting in their terms and use it responsibly. Watch out for the commercials though.
 
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  • #29
sophiecentaur said:
How 'small' a reading would be irrelevant? There are no 'zeros' out there and every value of every variable has its place. Our lives on Earth are governed by many variables and we are familiar with some (like g and the solar constant) but the variables in most of outer space have much lower values. But it's the exact values of all those variables that determines how galaxies are formed etc. etc. If you have any interest in such matters then you should be aware of the relevance of very small values.
At some point the magnetometer is not precise enough to measure the magnetic field if it is too small, it will measure noise.
 
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  • #30
The point at which the magnetic field readings stay at zero is the point at which the current sheaths go away. Where is that? We don't know. And if we don't measure, we will never know.
 
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  • #31
Vanadium 50 said:
The point at which the magnetic field readings stay at zero is the point at which the current sheaths go away. Where is that? We don't know. And if we don't measure, we will never know.
Finally a response that works like an answer. Thanks!
 
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  • #32
pines-demon said:
At some point the magnetometer is not precise enough to measure the magnetic field if it is too small, it will measure noise.
There is actually no such point. Variations of received data can be analysed ad infinitem and the signalling bandwidth is reduced further and further. I just takes longer. Neither you nor I know where Voyager is in this deterioration signal to noise ratio progress.
 
  • #33
There are at least three factors:
  1. The average magnetic field gets smaller with distance. The degree is unknown, and this is what is being measured.
  2. The available bandwidth for a perfect spacecraft degrades with distance in a predictable way.
  3. The spacecraft itself is degrading in an unpredictable way.
But I am still trying to understand the point being made. There are a few surviving instruments out there. Why wouldn't we look at them?
 
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  • #34
Vanadium 50 said:
But I am still trying to understand the point being made. There are a few surviving instruments out there. Why wouldn't we look at them?
I already acknowledged this point.
 
  • #35
sophiecentaur said:
There is actually no such point. Variations of received data can be analysed ad infinitem and the signalling bandwidth is reduced further and further. I just takes longer. Neither you nor I know where Voyager is in this deterioration signal to noise ratio progress.
As already pointed out, the magnetic field of the Sun falls with distance, at some point it has to be undetectable. But we have not been able to provide an order of magnitude.
 

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