Fret not, Voyager 1 is still floating amongst the stars and communicating with officials at NASA, even though it’s floating along in interstellar space. Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the craft’s launch on Tuesday, researchers on the Voyager mission managed to solve a glitch affecting the decades-old technology. Now, mission control is once again in contact with the satellite, which crossed into interstellar space 10 years ago. As of this month, the craft is over 10 billion miles from Earth.
“We’re happy to have the telemetry back,” Voyager project manager Suzanne Dodd said in a press release. “We’ll do a full memory readout of the AACS and look at everything it’s been doing. That will help us try to diagnose the problem that caused the telemetry issue in the first place. So we’re cautiously optimistic, but we still have more investigating to do.”
Earlier this year, Voyager 1 started sending back garbled data, causing scientists to fear the worst. That, for the time being, appears to have been fixed. Still, officials think both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 could go offline by 2025.
“Four years—that was the prime mission,” Dodd said in a separate release. “But if an engineer had a choice to put in a part that was 10 percent more expensive but wasn’t something that was needed for a four-year mission, they just went ahead and did that. And they wouldn’t necessarily tell management.”
The Voyager mission was designed to explore the furthest reaches of our solar system and is well passed its expected lifespan. The craft also carries a gold record with pictures of Earth’s wildlife and members of the human race—you know, just in case alien life comes in contact with it. The fabled record also includes a copy of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and a message from then-president Jimmy Carter.
“We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations,” Carter reportedly says on the record. “This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe.”