Automatic interplanetary station Voyager 2, in November of 2018 left the heliosphere (the magnetic analog of the planet’s atmosphere), did not comply with the regular maneuver, and had expended too much energy, according to NASA.
According to the American space Agency, January 25, the spacecraft had to rotate around its axis 360 degrees, which would allow for calibration of airborne equipment for measurement of the ambient magnetic field.
However, the analysis of telemetry data showed that during the execution of commands to carry out such maneuvers were used two systems, which resulted in energy consumption over the planned and, as a consequence, triggered the automatic shutdown of scientific instruments (to save energy).
However, on 28 January, NASA managed to suspend one of the systems, consuming an excessive amount of energy, and thereby resume operation of scientific instruments whose data are not yet available. Currently the Agency is working to restore normal operation of the station.
In NASA noted that the power source for Voyager 2 performs radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) as the power station is reduced by about 4 watts per year. In addition, the Agency has indicated that the functioning of spacecraft equipment and ensuring connection with the Land requires the maintenance of a certain temperature.
As emphasized in the outer office, now the distance between planet and station is 18.5 billion kilometres, with the result that the electromagnetic signal from Earth to Voyager 2 and back is about 34 hours.
Voyager 2 became the first station, which flew just past the four giant planets of the Solar system that allowed us to open 3 new satellite of Jupiter 4 / Saturn, 11 Uranium, and 6 — Neptune. Until now, no spacecraft not flying so close to the last two planets. Also, Voyager 2 became the second station left the Solar system. First did it in August 2012, the Voyager mission 1.
Spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are identical, the starting mass of one station (with hydrazine) — 815 kilograms. In expanded form, the apparatus is placed in a cube with sides of four meters. Voyager 2 launched in August 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1. The apparatus, in addition to the scientific equipment, carrying messages from humanity to possible alien civilizations.
It is believed that three radioisotope thermoelectric generator will allow Voyager 1 and 2 to communicate with Earth until approximately 2027. As estimates show, the Voyager 2 through 40 thousand years will pass at a distance of 1.7 light years past the dim red dwarf star Ross 248, located at a distance of 10.3 light-years from Earth in the Andromeda constellation.
The boundaries of the Solar system are determined by two methods: the heliosphere (the magnetic analogue of the atmospheres of planets) and the sphere of the hill (the area of determining the gravitational influence of the Central celestial body). For the Sun the radius of the hill sphere is estimated at one to two light years.
Video, photo All from Russia.