Science

One of NASA’s largest antennas is getting an upgrade

Located in Canberra, Australia, the DSS-43 is the only antenna capable of communicating with Voyager 2, one of two NASA probes that are traveling through interstellar space

NASA is upgrading Deep Space Station 43 in Canberra, Australia, one of the largest antennas in the Deep Space Network, a network of antennas spread across the planet that is used to communicate with its spacecraft in the whole solar system and beyond.


The DSS 43 is an antenna 70 meters in diameter and height equivalent to a 20-story building that is the only one that can communicate with Voyager 2, a spacecraft launched in 1977 that in 2018 became the second man-made object to leave the system solar, and currently travels through interstellar space.

Built in 1973, the DSS 43 was originally 64 meters in diameter and was more than six times more sensitive than its predecessor, the DSS 42, also located in the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. In 1988 it was extended to the current diameter, to facilitate communication with Voyager 2 during the passage of the probe by Neptune in 1989.

Deactivated in March, the antenna is receiving new equipment including a more powerful transmitter and highly sensitive receivers. NASA expects to complete the upgrade in January 2021, in time to help communicate with the Perseverance rover, which is scheduled to land at the Jezero Crater on Mars in February 2021.

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The antenna will also be used to communicate with autonomous or manned missions as part of the Artemis Program, for returning to the Moon, and in future manned missions to Mars.

Source: Engadget

Nasa Australia space probe antenna Science & Space space exploration

 

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