How to fix an antenna 20,000 million kilometers away?

Half a century ago, when the Internet was just a seed and less than a decade had passed since we first set foot on the Moon, NASA engineers developed two probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which were destined to become the objects created. by humans who went the furthest. So much so that, to communicate with them, a signal takes almost a full day to travel the more than 22,000 million kilometers that separate us. And as many hours to return. If we add to that that they do not have the most advanced technology, the problem of fixing an antenna at this distance is obvious.

And Voyager 1 is having problems. For a few months now she has been sending home confusing data that makes communication impossible. NASA engineers have narrowed the problem down to an onboard computer, the Flight Data System (FDS). The system's function is to organize scientific and engineering data before sending it back to Earth.

The NASA team working on the problem detected strange activity in a particular portion of the FDS. The data received was not yet in the usual Voyager 1 format, so the team had to explore further. One of NASA's Deep Space Network engineers, responsible for operating the radio equipment that communicates with Voyager, managed to decode the signal. To his surprise, They discovered that the data contained a complete dump and, most importantly, readable from the entire FDS memory.

The file contained everything engineers needed to get to the bottom of the problem: codes from the programs that control the spacecraft's operations, variables based on commands or conditions of the spacecraft, along with scientific and engineering data as well. The team is now focusing your attention on this codemeticulously comparing it with a dump from before the communication problems to see if they can identify and isolate errors in the code that could indicate the cause of the problem.

The problem is time… the signal takes a long time to arrive and each test performed on the system requires at least a day to arrive and another to return. To that we must add the evaluation to see if it has been resolved or not. And start again. AND all this 20,000 million kilometers away.

The teams continue to analyze the data, looking for the cause that leads to a possible solution. When they find the solution, it will take some time to implement, but NASA is confident that they will be able to solve the problem.