Digitaljournal.com - NASA's Voyager 2, which is touring the outer reaches of our galaxy, suddenly began to send back messages to Earth that scientists cannot interpret. A German researcher believes those sounds may come from aliens.
Launched in 1977, the Voyager 2 was propelled into "... the solar system's final frontier, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars," said NASA. It was May 24, 2005 and NASA was excited about the capacity it had through Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 to explore space. Project scientist Dr. Edward Stone, who helped build the Voyager crowed,
"Voyager has entered the final lap on its race to the edge of interstellar space, as it begins exploring the solar system's final frontier."
Both Voyagers 1 and 2 are identical, but each is allowing scientists to learn more about different parts of our solar system. Both also carry what NASA calls a Golden Record on board. The record is
"... a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth."
Since its launch, Voyager 2 has been sending streams of data back to Earth for study by scientists, but on April 22, 2010, that stream of information suddenly changed. NASA said diagnostics appear to show a problem with the flight data system, and engineers are optimistic that a software patch will solve the glitch. Dr. Stone said
"Voyager 2's initial mission was a four-year journey to Saturn, but it is still returning data 33 years later. It has already given us remarkable views of Uranus and Neptune, planets we had never seen close-up before. We will know soon what it will take for it to continue its epic journey of discovery."
During its 33 years of service, NASA said the Voyager 2
"... has visited more planets than any other spacecraft, swinging by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune ... With a somewhat lower speed than Voyager 1, it is about eighty percent as far from the Sun."
In an effort to fix what NASA calls a "glitch," Voyager 2 has been given instructions to transmit only information about the status of the spacecraft while scientists continue to analyze the problem. All NASA has said of the glitch is that Voyager 2 suddenly began transmitting data in a completely different format, according to Spaceflight Now, who interviewed Dr. Stone. The spacecraft is said to be completely fine, and the on-board computer also is thought to be functioning properly, aside from the glitch in the transmission of data.
However, the glitch has prompted speculation. German researcher Hartwig Hausdorf has chalked up the problem to aliens. To be specific, he posits that the Voyager 2 was hijacked by aliens. According to Bild.com, Hausdorf said
"It seems almost as if someone had reprogrammed or hijacked the probe – thus perhaps we do not yet know the whole truth…”
Bild writer Attila Albert speculated that the Golden Record might have attracted the aliens.
NASA is not confirming that there is anything special about the transmission it received on April 22.
Hausdorf is a prolific writer who specializes in extraterrestrials.
See NASA simulation video of Voyager
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Managers optimistic Voyager 2 can be restored to duty
BY STEPHEN CLARK
The Voyager 2 spacecraft hurtling toward the edge of the solar system is no longer returning useful science data, NASA announced last week, but officials are optimistic they can fix the formatting glitch believed to be causing the problem.
In an interview Monday, Voyager project scientist Ed Stone said the most likely cause of the hiccup is a bit flip, where parts of a stream of data are improperly formatted.
There are "probably one or two bits which have been flipped from a 0 to 1 or 1 to 0, and that affects only the science mode data," Stone told Spaceflight Now.
Officials expect to receive more data on Thursday or Friday indicating whether the issue is a simple bit flip or a more serious software upset.
"We will be sending a command to the spacecraft to transmit down bit by bit so we can look at it and determine which bit has been flipped, and then reset it to its proper state," Stone said.
Stone said even if the anomaly is a fundamental software error, engineers can develop a software patch to uplink to Voyager 2 that should resolve the problem.
Voyager 2's distance from Earth could complicate repairs. It takes nearly 13 hours for radio signals to travel each way between ground controllers and the spacecraft.
Controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., uncovered the problem April 22, when science data streaming down to Earth first showed signs of an anomaly.
"The telemetry comes down in a certain format," Stone said. "For some reason, that format changed, which means that the flight data system computer was no longer formatting properly."
NASA sent commands to Voyager 2 in late April, ordering the spacecraft to switch to engineering mode. Data on the probe's health and systems is not affected by the snafu.
"All I can tell you for sure is the engineering mode and the data is coming down just fine," Stone said. "That tells us the computer is working fine and that certainly gives us some confidence."
Launched in 1977 on a tour of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, Voyager 2 is about 8.6 billion miles from Earth as it traverses the outer regions of the heliosphere, or the furthest reaches of the sun's influence.
Voyager 2 and its sistership, Voyager 1, should reach interstellar space within about 10 or 20 years. Both craft have enough propellant and electrical power to operate until at least 2020, according to NASA.
Both spacecraft are now exploring a region known as the heliosheath, where the sun's solar wind is slowed by pressure from interstellar gas.
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Note: Is it possible that Voyager 2 was hijacked and reprogrammed by aliens; entities of unknown origin? Why not? Wasn't voyager sent with greeting and salutations, the "golden disc", in hopes that if found, presumably by aliens (who else would be "way out there"), that it would tell them about us?
Let us speculate for a moment and assume that Voyager 2 has been hijacked and reprogrammed. What for? To reply to us? Or could it have been reprogrammed as a 'buoy marker', leading others straight to us? Time will tell.