Notes and Reflections on Books and Media
by Hannah Leitheiser
The Interstellar Age: The Story of the NASA Men and Women
It always seemed odd that NASA would ever want to stop contacting their probes. For example, they talk about turing off New Horizons in 2021 when the mission ends. Even if there were no obvious science, you'd think you'd want to hang on as long as possible for sentiment or understanding equipment reliability in deep space..
Of course, I suppose the call's not free. A little Googling indicates at least a $5000/hr bill to use a 70-meter antenna. The book said staying in contact with Voyagers and analyzing the data cost altogether 100 million a year (I have to guess this was when both were still talking), which comes to something like 1% of NASA's budget. But, I suppose if it were me I'd keep trying uuntil the bitter end.