NASA's Voyager 1 probe loses contact with Earth

NASA's Voyager 1 space probe suffered a computer glitch that caused a breakdown in communication between the 46-year-old probe and its team on Earth.

Engineers are currently trying to resolve the problem as the aging spacecraft explores unknown space territory along the outer limits of the solar system.

Voyager 1 is currently the most distant spacecraft from Earth at about 24 billion kilometers, while its twin Voyager 2 has traveled more than 20 billion kilometers from our planet. Both probes are in interstellar space and the only ones ever to have operated beyond the heliosphere.

Originally designed to last five years, the Voyager probes are the two longest-running spacecraft in history. Their exceptionally long lifespans mean they have provided additional information about our solar system and beyond, having achieved their preliminary goals of flying to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune decades ago.

But their unexpectedly long journeys have not been without challenges.

"Voyager 1 has three onboard computers, including a flight data system that collects information from the spacecraft's science instruments and merges it with engineering data that reflects the probe's current technical status. Mission control on Earth receives this data in binary code, or a series of ones and zeros. /BGNES