Forty-six years in deep space have taken their toll on NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft. Their antiquated computers sometimes do puzzling things, their thrusters are wearing out, and their fuel lines are becoming clogged. Around half of their science instruments no longer return data, and their power levels are declining.
Still, the lean team of engineers and scientists working on the Voyager program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are taking steps to eke out every bit of life from the only two spacecraft flying in interstellar space, the vast volume of dilute gas outside the influence of the Sun’s solar wind.
“These are measures that we’re trying to take to extend the life of the mission,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager at JPL, in an interview with Ars.