HomeScienceNASA Fixes Malfunctioning Spacecraft The Similar Approach You Repair Your Troublesome Laptop...

NASA Fixes Malfunctioning Spacecraft The Similar Approach You Repair Your Troublesome Laptop computer : ScienceAlert

NASA fixes malfunctioning spacecraft the identical manner you repair your troublesome laptop computer

When confronted with a doubtlessly mission-ending downside with NASA’s 15-year-old Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft, engineers carried out a time-honored process to repair it: They turned it off after which turned it again on once more.

Success! IBEX is now totally operational once more.

Really, they informed the spacecraft to show itself off, and IBEX – which not like the well-known HAL in 2001: A House Odyssey – obeyed the command after which turned itself again on once more.

On February 18, IBEX skilled an anomaly and the flight pc reset itself throughout a deliberate contact with Earth. However one thing did not work proper and IBEX put itself right into a “contingency mode.”

NASA stated that whereas flight pc resets have occurred earlier than, this time the staff misplaced the flexibility to command the spacecraft through the subsequent reset restoration.

The staff additionally was unsuccessful in regaining command functionality by resetting floor programs {hardware} and software program.

All different programs seemed to be practical, however no instructions had been being processed, primarily making the spacecraft not operational.

After all, in house there is a extra ‘official’ time period for the ‘flip off, activate once more’ energy cycle reboot that we have all achieved with a finicky pc.

It is referred to as a firecode reset, which is an exterior reset of the spacecraft. This was achieved on March 2, and achieved preemptively as an alternative of ready for the spacecraft to carry out an autonomous reset and energy cycle, which was scheduled for March 4.

Engineers determined to benefit from a positive communications atmosphere round IBEX’s perigee – the purpose within the spacecraft’s orbit the place it’s closest to Earth.

The command labored, and IBEX is functioning usually once more.

IBEX has been working practically flawlessly because it launched in October 2008. Its mission is to map the boundary the place winds from the Solar work together with winds from different stars.

IBEX is an exceptionally small spacecraft, in regards to the dimension of a bus tire, and does its work of observing the photo voltaic system boundary whereas in orbit round Earth.

It has “telescopes” that look out towards the sting of the photo voltaic system, however these telescopes gather particles as an alternative of sunshine.

From IBEX, we now have the primary all-sky map of the heliosphere, which revealed a shock: the maps are bisected by a brilliant, winding ribbon of unknown origin. Scientists are nonetheless working with IBEX information to know this phenomenon.

This text was initially printed by Universe Right now. Learn the unique article.



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