In November 2023, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft began sending a constant radio signal to Earth, but the data was distorted and could not be used. However, now NASA engineers are making progress in understanding this problem.

Reportedly, the source of the problem may lie in one of the three onboard computers of the Flight Data Subsystem (FDS), which is responsible for packaging data before it is sent to Earth.

On March 3, the Voyager 1 team saw activity in one part of the FDS that was different from the rest of the distorted data stream. This signal still doesn’t match how the FDS is supposed to work properly, but they were able to identify that this signal contained a read of the entire FDS memory.

The engineers compare the new signal to the one received before the problem occurred and look for discrepancies that could potentially lead them to the source of the problem.

Next, the engineers plan to encourage the FDS to try different sequences in its software package in the hope that the problem can be resolved by bypassing the corrupted packets.

Currently, Voyager 1 is more than 24 billion kilometers from Earth and it takes about 45 hours for the engineering team to send a signal and receive a response, so a potential solution to the problem will take a long time.

Voyager 1 and its twin probe, Voyager 2, were launched back in 1977 to study the most distant planets in the solar system and their moons.