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NASA Transmits Patches to the Two Voyager Probes Launched in … – Slashdot

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The 2 Voyagers are possibly the best science money ever spent. They visited all the gas giants with clarity never seen before, and sniffed interstellar space where no probe has gone before.
I am amazed that there has been a continuity of funding and knowledge transfer to allow this equipment and these programs to continue functioning.
It’s not just handling the spacecraft, but also coordinating and maintaining access to the tracking stations (Deep Space Network) necessary to send/receive information.
https://www.nasa.gov/centers-a… [nasa.gov]
Even if you were an intern when the spacecraft launched, you’d be well into retirement age now (1977-2023), nevermind the engineers and scientists who were deep into their careers to design and build the spacecraft prior to the actual launch date.
Here’s hoping we’re able to keep these systems online for at another 5 years. Apparently the RTGs used as thermal batteries are already at their limit. The current hack to get as much voltage as possible looks like they can extend the mission to 2026 for Voyager 2…
https://www.npr.org/2023/04/30… [npr.org]
Current estimate is that they’ll both be operationally exhausted by 2030:
https://www.amnh.org/explore/n… [amnh.org]
At that point, these spacecraft will have been in continuous program operation for 53 years.
A good article on RTGs used in space from hackaday:
https://hackaday.com/2023/05/0… [hackaday.com]
Heh, my father started working (as a college co-op) at NASA in 1962 (on the Saturn rocket), and only retired for real this year. He retired from full-time civil service 15 years ago and continued working part-time as a contractor until this year. So while I’m sure there are younger folks working on the Voyager project, there could also still be some original people still involved.
Obligatory but can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these… 😉
I’m sure the design review would entail an hours long struggle session about how voyaging into space is an act of colonialist violence.
Please can you fuck off with spamming your identity politics all over every thread? No one cares except you.
To their credit, they are embracing their handle / nickname (possibly as a joke?). After all, that’s what right wing nut jobs do – ignore any substance-based statements or arguments and instead just bang their fist on the table shouting about “woke” without being able to define it in any meaningful way.
It’s about as reasonable to request that a vulture completely ignore some roadkill it’s circling.
You joke, but a number of idiots have already bleated about the disk attached to the Pioneer probes was patriarchal (man larger than woman, you know, like in the real world) and racist (couple depicted were caucasian). Nothing and nowhere is safe from the diseased paranoid minds of these woke freaks.
The only real danger is the far right who use the “War on Woke” to distract from their coming theo-fascist dictatorship. Then you’ll find out the real meaning of “cancel culture”.
Theo-fascist dictatorship?
Lmao, one of your sociology professors teach you that?
Call it what you like, but it seems pretty accurate for some of the things being talked about by not-so-fringe members of the Republican party. Seems some of them are far more interested in what the Bible says about freedom than what the Constitution says – you know, that document that they took oaths to defend and protect upon taking office.
Canceling people by premature cremation again? Those were the days…
I read that the man who is depicted is Black and the woman is East Asian.
Looking at their faces doesn’t contradict this.
Doesnt look like that to me but line drawings can be open to interpretation.
Until that never gets sufficiently large, it’s important to ignore stupidity like this. Social media has given them a platform they don’t deserve.
Yay, Voyager!

racist (couple depicted were caucasian).

racist (couple depicted were caucasian).
This is factually incorrect – despite the limitations of the line-illustration format they are clearly a mixed race couple. The female is clearly Asian. [wikipedia.org] Of course that has its own implied cultural biases.

They’d start by insisting on installing nvm on Voyager and a re-architecture to Node and microservices, claiming that it will increase scalability and reduce the number of bugs.

They’d start by insisting on installing nvm on Voyager and a re-architecture to Node and microservices, claiming that it will increase scalability and reduce the number of bugs.
They could have morning stand up meetings to respond to the concerns of the day.
I would imagine that a full simulation of the entire system would easily run on a Raspberry Pi.
I’m doubtful it’d be useful. If the hardware is simulated inaccurately by software then software simulations are just CYA pageantry; and any inaccuracy would only be revealed after it’s too late to prevent harm created by the inaccuracy.
On the other hand if constructed original hardware spec is maintained in a working state to test? Might be enough to prevent a someone having to explain how they bricked space history by shipping buggy code.
Sometimes, sometimes not. You can have a full engineering model, a bench model (same h/w componants, but layed out on a bench), a simulation running using the same physical processor, or a complete software simulation. And probably other variations.
Modifing the on-board spacecraft software is often done to cope with hardware that’s either failing, or behaving differently than expected. It’s not just s/w bug fixing. That kind of fix might be easier to test in a software simulation, were you have full control
I would put money on a bet that JPL has a real test article kicking around a storage room in Pasadena that they could run a few tests on before doing the real “deployment”.
Don’t forget the opportunity to rewrite the code in Rust to reduce bugs 🙂
When that equipment left Earth I was programming CDC 6000/7000 and Univac 1108 computers with jobs submitted on Hollerith card decks. You interacted with a computer more often than not via an ASR 33 teletype or if you were well funded a Hazeltine 2000 CRT.
All that stuff is long gone. Not even findable in junk yards anymore.
Yet those probes are still there. It is astounding that we can even maintain radio contact. Does anyone know what the specs for that RF link is? It can’t be consuming more than
No, he isn’t lying. I was using Hollerith card decks to program a CDC 6500 at a university in CS in the late 1970s. The EE dept had some terminals and as soon as I found those, I’d steal over there to use their equipment.

You lie. These were launched in the late-70s and nobody was programming like that.

You lie. These were launched in the late-70s and nobody was programming like that.
I was using punch cards into the 1980s. Terminals for programming were around, but tended to be in short supply in many facilities.
…about “right to repair” but I haven’t found it yet. ;D
Those NASA hipsters had a right to repair before it was cool.
Here’s a cool NASA app [nasa.gov] that lets you view the solar system from the perspective of outer probes. Click on the probe and drag your mouse to change your angle of view. (Scroll down about 2 pages if you don’t see the app.)
And you can click on the other probes’ and landmarks’ tags to shift your perspective to them. Other probes include New Horizons, Pioneer 10 & 11 (defunct).
Every time I read a story about these probes, I’m more and more astonished they still function, especially at that distance, and that we can still target them to issue commands, which they actually obey.
Those old timey NASA engineers were absolute gods!!
No, they were programmers of the 1970s.
So … well, ok, yes.
Is it sinking in? That you’re ancient now?
Dammit, sonny, write bigger, my eyes ain’t what they used to be!
As someone who has to work with and audit ancient mainframe code from time to time, I can imagine what their biggest problem might be.
With most other systems, when you encounter something in a piece of code that needs explanation, you ask “is that guy who wrote that still in the company?”. With mainframe (and I can only assume Voyager) code, the question is more likely “is the guy who wrote that still alive?”
Fortunately, back then documentation was actually a thing.
A lot of the code I encounter is older tha
Movie link: It’s Quieter in the Twilight (2022) – IMDB [imdb.com]
It is shot before and during COVID. This puts it around the upgrade of one of the primary dishes used to communicate with them in Australia.
Keep your eye out for all of the “retro” tech gear they have to keep running. Perfect movie for all you astro geeks out there 🙂
Hey – Slashdot has been that bad for literally decades. At least you can delete a tweet and repost a corrected version…
Maybe some day my Motorola smartphone will get an update too: it’s still in the Solar system and it has more bandwidth than the Voyager probes.
Sadly, Motorola is in charge of updates, not JPL. So it’s not super likely.
Anyone knows how many times those 2 probes have been updated with new code since they were launched?
And is it common to update probes after they have launched?
Just curious.
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