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Emily LakdawallaMay 17, 2010

Voyager 2 status update: Yep, it was a flipped bit

Voyager 2's engineers have confirmed that the problem with the spacecraft was indeed the result of a single flipped bit in its software, as they predicted. A fix is planned for Wednesday, May 19. Details as reported here:

One flip of a bit in the memory of an onboard computer appears to have caused the change in the science data pattern returning from Voyager 2, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Monday, May 17. A value in a single memory location was changed from a 0 to a 1.

On May 12, engineers received a full memory readout from the flight data system computer, which formats the data to send back to Earth. They isolated the one bit in the memory that had changed, and they recreated the effect on a computer at JPL. They found the effect agrees with data coming down from the spacecraft. They are planning to reset the bit to its normal state on Wednesday, May 19.

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Read more: mission status, Voyager 1 and 2

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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