NASA's Voyager 1 mission
launched in 1977, passed into what scientists call interstellar space in 2012 and just kept going
The spacecraft is
now 14.5 billion miles (23.3 billion kilometers) away from Earth.
while Voyager 1 is still operating
properly, scientists on the mission recently noticed that it appeared confused about its location in space without going into safe mode or otherwise sounding an alarm.
The glitch has to do with
Voyager 1's attitude articulation and control system, or AACS, which keeps the spacecraft and its antenna in the proper orientation.
The agency says that Voyager
personnel will continue to investigate the issue and attempt to either fix or adapt to it.
That's a slow process,
a signal from Earth currently takes 20 hours and 33 minutes to reach Voyager 1; receiving the spacecraft's response carries the same delay.