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This article reported today, a finding from one of the voyager probes. It talks about magnetic structures at the (far) outer edge of our solar system. Does that mean we're still able to pick up a signal from the Voyager probes ? And how long does it take to receive a transmission from a probe that is 16billion km from earth ?

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In the case of Voyager 2, not only is it still transmitting, it's tweeting too! – Steve Melnikoff Jun 11 '11 at 12:45
DSN needs to send a command to the spacecraft so that it knows to respond by sending back data. So there will come a time when DSN will send a command and will not have to listen until the following day (the DSN cannot transmit through Earth). Though, DSN does partner with other dish networks (not the cable companies) around Earth to improve coverage when Los Angeles isn't pointed at something. – honeste_vivere Oct 5 '14 at 18:20
I was chatting with a colleague that works on Voyager and they said that both Voyagers are in a mode where they constantly transmit data. Then the deep space network (DSN) only has to acquire the signal and receive the data whenever the mission has a time slot allotted and a dish facing the correct direction. So there is no need to send signals to Voyager unless we need to change an instrument mode or something else with the bus. – honeste_vivere Mar 8 '15 at 12:50
up vote 14 down vote accepted


From the Voyager mission webpages:

As of August 2010, Voyager 1 was at a distance of 17.1 Billion Kilometers (114.3 AU) from the sun and Voyager 2 at a distance of 13.9 Billion kilometers (92.9 AU).

Voyager 1 is escaping the solar system at a speed of about 3.6 AU per year, 35 degrees out of the ecliptic plane to the north, in the general direction of the Solar Apex (the direction of the Sun's motion relative to nearby stars). Voyager 2 is also escaping the solar system at a speed of about 3.3 AU per year, 48 degrees out of the ecliptic plane to the south.

One light second is 299792.458 km, so that'd be about 57000 seconds (15hrs, 50min) as of August 2010.

(and then whatever lag from the Deep Space Network)

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it's incredible to see how an object launched tens of years ago just traversed a bit more than half of one lightday of space. Gives an idea of the chances of getting anywhere close to traversing lightyears... – Stefano Borini Jun 11 '11 at 21:17

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