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How Far Can a Space Probe Go Before We Lose Contact With It?

12 Apr 2015, 12:13 UTC
How Far Can a Space Probe Go Before We Lose Contact With It?
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Question: Hi, my name is Connor. I’m six years old. I’m doing this for my science fair project. I’m in kindergarten. How far can a probe go before we lose contact with it?
Answer: The only limitation to how far a space probe can travel away from the Earth and still be contacted is its ability to transmit signals to or receive signals from Earth. For example, the Voyager 1 spacecraft is a little over 2×10^(10) km, or 130 astronomical units, from the Earth and we still receive signals from it. Eventually we will lose contact with Voyager 1 when its instruments run out of energy to send signals to Earth.
Jeff Mangum

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