NASA picks up faint carrier signal from Voyager 2

An artist’s impression of a Voyager spacecraft in deep space. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Deep Space Network has detected a faint carrier signal from the Voyager 2 probe just a few days after losing contact because of erroneous commands that inadvertently caused the spacecraft to turn slightly away from Earth.

While Voyager 2’s 3.7-metre (12-foot) dish antenna is still misaimed and the signal is too weak to carry any data, it indicates the spacecraft is still alive, functional and on course.

Flight controllers will attempt to beam new commands from the DSN at a much higher power level in an attempt to coax a realignment with Earth. If that fails, the probe’s computer periodically executes stored commands to reset its alignment. The next reset is expected in October.