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NASA spacecraft is transmitting mysterious 'gibberish' back to Earth from outside our solar system

NASA spacecraft is transmitting mysterious 'gibberish' back to Earth from outside our solar system

The space team found out that about 3% of the probe's memory is corrupted.

NASA's spacecraft has been emitting gibberish back to planet Earth since its launch which you know... isn't very helpful.

The flood of nonsensical 1s and 0s it's sending 24 billion kilometres (15 billion miles) away has baffled scientists until now.

NASA launched its Voyager 1 on 5 September 1977 with artefacts of Earth onboard. It is one of two Voyager probes sent to space as part of the ongoing space mission to explore the depths of our Solar System.

During its journey, the Voyager 1 sends updates back to Earth in the form of regular radio signals.

Anton Petrus / Getty
Anton Petrus / Getty

However, since November, it has been emitting a stream of gibberish back to Earth that is just space garble.

NASA explained the situation: 'The team suspects that a single chip responsible for storing part of the affected portion of the FDS memory isn’t working. Engineers can’t determine with certainty what caused the issue.'

The team found out that about 3% of the probe's memory is corrupted, which explains why simply rebooting the FDS back in November 2023 didn't fix the problem.

In March, the Voyager mission team at NASA sent a 'poke command' to check up on the FDS.

Poke commands modify specific memory addresses, which is something you may have experienced with cheating gamers as they can use them to give themselves an advantage.

In this case, this particular command was aimed at getting the system to read its data differently, hoping to bypass the glitch.


'Two possibilities are that the chip could have been hit by an energetic particle from space or that it simply may have worn out after 46 years,' the US space agency added.

Either way, the solution could take weeks or even months to implement.

'Engineers are optimistic they can find a way for the FDS to operate normally without the unusable memory hardware, which would enable Voyager 1 to begin returning science and engineering data again,' NASA explained.

The main problem with Voyager 1 is that since it was launched back forty years ago, its computers are completely outdated.

Therefore, NASA has been forced to dig through decades-old documents to piece together information on its technology that's largely been forgotten, or at least misplaced.

If all is successful, However, Voyager 1 will hopefully resume sending readable radio messages from beyond our solar system.

Featured Image Credit: MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Anton Petrus / Getty