Make your home page

NASA detects signal with Voyager 2 after losing contact

The NASA logo is displayed at the agency's booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 11, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

<div style="width:850px;height:475px"><fuel-video data-channel="b5ab0a63-e58d-426f-aac4-0e4e135ce0ad" data-poster-image="" data-audio-and-autoplay="1" data-swc="4a77a966-17fb-4737-ac72-964a28b162c8" data-ad-method="1"></fuel-video><script src=""></script></div>

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WISH)- The Voyager mission team at NASA has detected a signal from Voyager 2 after losing contact with the spacecraft. Voyager 2 has been operating for nearly 46 years.

Commands sent to Voyager 2 on July 21 accidentally caused the spacecraft’s antenna to point 2 degrees away from Earth. The miniscule shift means that Voyager 2 can’t receive any commands from mission control or send data back to Earth from its location because it is currently more than 12.3 billion miles in interstellar space.

According to CNN the mission team is pleasantly surprised to detect the spacecraft’s “carrier signal” using the Deep Space Network. The deep Space Network is an international array of massive radio antennas that allows NASA to communicate with missions across the cosmos.

“We enlisted the help of the (Deep Space Network) and Radio Science groups to help to see if we could hear a signal from Voyager 2,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “This was successful in that we see the ‘heartbeat’ signal from the spacecraft. So, we know the spacecraft is alive and operating. This buoyed our spirits.”

The signal, sent via the Deep Space Network, is basically an attempt to “shout” at Voyager 2 and get its attention. But currently th antenna isn’t oriented in a way to receive the radio signal, according to NASA.

Given the distance between Voyager 2 and Earth, it takes about 18.5 hours for the signal to travel one way across the solar system to the spacecraft.

If the Earth-based signals don’t reach Voyager 2, the spacecraft is already programmed to reorient itself multiple times a year to keep its antenna pointing in Earth’s direction.

The next reset was already scheduled for October 15, and the team is hopeful the program will allow communications to resume with Voyager 2.