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NASA Finds Cause of Voyager 2 Glitch

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posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 11:41 PM
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Originally posted by Maxmars
I tend to be skeptical of this 'tidy' (nice word) answer to the matter.

However, given that they hold all the keys to the kingdom, I suppose it will have to do.


Then apparently you don't know about cosmic rays and memory errors?

It can happen even with your PC at home.

From a major memory manufacturer's site (The best one I think):

forum.corsair.com...


Q: I don't understand why these memory errors occur. What gives?

A: ...there are two main causes of these errors:

Naturally occurring radioactive isotopes (which emit alpha particles), and high energy cosmic rays from supernovas
Both of these phenomena can change the value of a memory bit from a zero to a one or from a one to a zero.

By the way, these errors are known as "soft" errors. They are called "soft" because they can be repaired by simply correcting the value of the memory bit.

Q: Come on... cosmic rays? Really, how often does this occur?

A: The Ram Guy consulted with some experts on this one. Basically, it's a statistics problem. But, when you do the math, a soft error is likely to occur in a system with 256 Mbytes of memory about every 750 hours! And, the more memory you have, the more frequently soft errors will occur.

Q: Is that such a big deal?

A: You tell me. At two hours a day, 750 hours is once a year. Probably no big deal. But, at twenty-four hours a day, it's a month. That's not sounding so good, now...

If you're emailing and word processing, a crash is an inconvenience. If you're serving web pages, a crash can be disastrous! It's really up to you...


Now I'm sure that NASA had shielding in place to reduce errors from cosmic rays but there's probably not a shield thick enough that we can launch into space that can stop 100% of them, some of them have energy levels that are too high.




posted on Jun, 7 2010 @ 01:43 AM
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Originally posted by Maxmars
I tend to be skeptical of this 'tidy' (nice word) answer to the matter.

However, given that they hold all the keys to the kingdom, I suppose it will have to do.

It would be interesting to have access to the 'corrupted' data stream for analytical purposes... but once again.... this is NASA we're talking about.


Yay. NASA for Never Ask Silly Administration



posted on Jun, 7 2010 @ 02:55 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur


Now I'm sure that NASA had shielding in place to reduce errors from cosmic rays but there's probably not a shield thick enough that we can launch into space that can stop 100% of them, some of them have energy levels that are too high.


I think you are right - better shielding would simply take longer before the bit flipped according to the uncertainty principal



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