NASA says Voyager 1 is out of danger after a major malfunction.

Months after a serious computer problem declared the end of Voyager 1, which provided data about the outer planets and distant regions of the solar system for nearly half a century, NASA announced Thursday that it had restored the spacecraft to working condition.

“The spacecraft has resumed collecting information about interstellar space,” NASA said in its announcement about Voyager 1, the most distant man-made object in space.

Engineers have been working to diagnose and fix the problem since it was discovered in November, a tedious and lengthy process made even more complicated by the fact that it takes about two days to send and receive information from Voyager 1, which was the first man-made object to enter interstellar space and is currently more than 15 billion miles from Earth.

The space community has been concerned since last year that the prospects for repairing the aging spacecraft appeared as bleak as ever.

In February, Voyager mission project manager Suzanne Dodd said the problem, which was hampering Voyager 1’s ability to send coherent engineering and science data to Earth, was the “most serious issue” the probe had faced since she took the helm of the mission in 2010.

Voyager 1 and its twin spacecraft, Voyager 2, were launched in 1977 on a mission to explore the outer planets. NASA took advantage of a rare alignment in the solar system that enabled the probes to visit four of the outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — using the gravity of each to move on to the next.

Following the success of its planetary mission, Voyager 1 continued its journey toward the edge of the solar system, and in 1990 it captured a fairytale image of Earth — a tiny speck in the infinite darkness that became known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”

In 2012 the probe became the first to enter interstellar space, and since then it, along with its twin that arrived six years later, has collected data about the space around the Sun that is directly under the Sun’s influence.

Perhaps just as profound as the pale blue dot, each spacecraft is equipped with a golden phonograph, loaded with sound recordings and images depicting humanity and life on Earth, begging to be discovered one day by another civilization.

Chances of recovering Voyager 1 improve pretty much in aprilThat was when NASA reported it had managed to get the probe to send back “usable” data about its engineering systems and its health. That was followed late last month by news that the team had restored functionality to two of Voyager 1’s science instruments, allowing it to send back science data and continue its mission.

On Thursday, the agency announced it had restarted remaining instruments and restored Voyager 1 to normal operations.

Still, Voyager 1’s life may not last too long. NASA previously estimated that the nuclear-powered generators on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 would run out around 2025. But Voyager 1 has already shown that it can overcome the odds. Ms. Dodd hopes that both Voyager spacecraft can reach the mission’s 50th anniversary in 2027.


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