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Nasa hears ‘heartbeat’ from Voyager 2, navigator of interstellar space

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Nasa’s distant Voyager 2 probe has sent a “heartbeat” signal to Earth after mission control mistakenly cut contact, the US space agency said on Tuesday.
Launched in 1977 to explore the outer planets and serve as a beacon of humanity to the wider universe, it is currently more than 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometres) from our world — well beyond the solar system.
A series of planned com­mands sent to Voyager 2 on July 21 “inadvertently caused the antenna to point two degrees away from Earth,” Nasa’s Jet Pro­pulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in a recent update.
This left it unable to transmit data or receive commands to its mission control — a situation that was not expected to be resolved until it conducted an automated re-orientation manoeuvre on October 15.
But on Tuesday, Voyager project manager Suzanne Dodd said the team enlisted the help of the Deep Space Network — an international array of giant radio antennas, plus a few that orbit Earth — in a last-ditch effort to re-establish contact sooner.

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