Voyager 1 Exits the Solar System - UPDATED

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Beffudled Sheep:
Pretty cool. Hopefully no advanced aliens find it and decide to come eat our planet.

Like in Beast Wars?

image

QUINTIX:
Absurd thought of the moment: there are many scientific instruments and tools made decades ago that are still valuable today and will be of value decades from now. Getting something like this working for so long in such an environment is no small feat.

If within our lifetime it becomes possible to send light/somewhat simple crafts to reach and rendezvous with the likes of Voyager, Pioneer and New Horizons within months instead of decades, these distant emissaries may still be well worth refueling and refurbishing (with radio upgrades of course).

If we had the tech to do that, why bother with some probe from the 70s? A craft can't be much simpler then that hunk of scrap metal.

Are we still receiving telemetry from it? Granted, it takes FOREVER to transmit a signal that far, but it would be awesome. I probably should have kept up on the voyager program more, but astronomy was just never my thing.

Mypetmonkey:

Please for the love of your future warnings, please add something else to your post, something that is relevant to the convocation. a video alone does not cut it. it may in other forums but we are not IGN or 4CHAN here.

On topic, all I can think of is star trek. What if there are aliens!

I can't help but think of The Warfare of Genghis Khan...


Voyager just keeps on leaving the solar system, time and time again...and it will leave again at least one more time...

...anyway what Josh (or Sorkin) said still stands...here is the track, it's haunting even before you realise this one of Earth's ambassadors...

Love the star trek reference, OP.

Wait, why do I feel as if I've already read this here? How many times has the Voyager left the solar system?

That's pretty cool, I wonder if it'll find anything baffling before it shuts down.

Imagine 35 years without a BSOD, RROD, memory leak or any hardware failure.

Why did this article made me feel like humanity is a mouse who finally started its attempt to run over a highway hoping no car would come though?

Aeshi:

In theory Voyager should be around for millions of years (if not longer_ unless it either runs out of power (unlikely, given how many stars there are out there) or something hits it (even more unlikely).

But the solar power from the stars is not enough to power it. It relied on suns power which it has now left behind and unless it can turn galactic radiation into power its out of luck. it will float on its course due ton o friction, but sending data it wont be. esopecialyl since you need more and more energy to send data that wont get corrupted the further you go.

Strazdas:
But the solar power from the stars is not enough to power it. It relied on suns power which it has now left behind and unless it can turn galactic radiation into power its out of luck. it will float on its course due ton o friction, but sending data it wont be. esopecialyl since you need more and more energy to send data that wont get corrupted the further you go.

Voyager isn't solar powered, it's nuclear. It has three radioisotope thermoelectric generators that derive energy from the decay of plutonium. The radiation level drops continually, and halves about every 88 years. NASA says that by 2030 at the latest, it will no longer have enough power to run any of its instruments.

The Artificially Prolonged:
I'm amazed by the fact Voyager is still going. I mean its been out there for over 30 years and is still working perfectly, you'd assume something would break down after all that time.

Tiny little mechanics come out at night and fix it!

OT if only it had a little more energy left, although the information it bounces back for the next 7 years will be interesting

Redingold:

Strazdas:
But the solar power from the stars is not enough to power it. It relied on suns power which it has now left behind and unless it can turn galactic radiation into power its out of luck. it will float on its course due ton o friction, but sending data it wont be. esopecialyl since you need more and more energy to send data that wont get corrupted the further you go.

Voyager isn't solar powered, it's nuclear. It has three radioisotope thermoelectric generators that derive energy from the decay of plutonium. The radiation level drops continually, and halves about every 88 years. NASA says that by 2030 at the latest, it will no longer have enough power to run any of its instruments.

Ah, i was mislead by the comment of "it will ahve power as long as there are stars shining", so i assumed light power. well i guess they needed to put just a little bit more plutonium into it then :P but yeah by then it will just drift in space. though the info we get from him till then is very intresting, assuming his signals can penetrate the cosmic radiation winds.

Yuuki:
They make it sound exciting but the truth is, a hunk of metal we sent into nothingness 35 years ago is now traveling through vast areas of even more nothingness.

Space is very, very empty. Some people make it sound like you could bump into a fascinating new planet or space-dust, but it's really not the case.

Think of an empty volume the size of Earth. Now occupy that volume with 1 grain of sand, placed in the middle. That grain of sand represents our entire solar system (including Kuiper belt, comets, etc), and that grain of sand is the only grain of sand there, you will not find any more sand in that volume.

Voyager 1 has only just managed to get away from that grain of sand. It is estimated that Voyager 1 will have to travel for another 40,000-50,000 years to reach the next grain of sand (i.e. Alpha Centauri, the closest star). That's longer than the length of time that humans have been walking upright.

That's how depressingly empty space is.

Is this really the case? Thank you for clearing this up for me. :D

I really don't know how space works at all. I'm always amazed when I hear about the recent Mars missions, as I thought it was a miracle that we are able to land spacecrafts there without it getting hit by anything on it's way over there. Is it really nothing it can hit underways towards Mars? Comets, meteors... SOMETHING? lol, I'm such an idiot when it comes to this topic.

Yuuki:
They make it sound exciting but the truth is, a hunk of metal we sent into nothingness 35 years ago is now traveling through vast areas of even more nothingness.

Space is very, very empty. Some people make it sound like you could bump into a fascinating new planet or space-dust, but it's really not the case.

Think of an empty volume the size of Earth. Now occupy that volume with 1 grain of sand, placed in the middle. That grain of sand represents our entire solar system (including Kuiper belt, comets, etc), and that grain of sand is the only grain of sand there, you will not find any more sand in that volume.

Voyager 1 has only just managed to get away from that grain of sand. It is estimated that Voyager 1 will have to travel for another 40,000-50,000 years to reach the next grain of sand (i.e. Alpha Centauri, the closest star). That's longer than the length of time that humans have been walking upright.

That's how depressingly empty space is.

Yes but in that short time of upright walking we managed to give earth materials a complex form and function and send it into that nothingness. were we more like any other species on the planet our best attempts at leaving the solar system would revolve around throwing rocks at the sky.

Pinkamena:
NASA has refuted this claim, though.
http://phys.org/news/2013-03-nasa-denies-voyager-left-solar.html

The American Geophysical Union have retracted the claim too.

It's definitely in a new transitional point in space but not yet into the interstellar medium.

And no, it's not fated to come back to roost. That's Voyager 6.. and it doesn't exist.

The Last Nomad:
The declare this pretty often don't they, and it seems like its happening more often lately (or maybe i'm just more aware of it) but every time they announce it, it takes a few days for them to change their mind and say "its actually just the next layer out of the solar system... space is big yo".

It's a bad habbit NASA has, whenever something (anything) happens they make a big deal about it even when its not confirmed and then wonder why the public gets over NASA being excited about nothing. Don't get me wrong I love space exploration, but as you pointed out they really need to get a better PR department to help NASA's public image (which would get it more funding from the US government).

Personally I look forward to the day that NASA, ESA etc are all merged together to become a single combined program, helps save money (as duplicate missions wouldn't be happening) and would seriously help international relations to be focusing on a goal together. The ISS did that well, I hope now it's complete they will use it as a stepping stone to work towards expanding into our solar system and eventually beyond.

So, it's even less clear where the solar system ends than it is how high above the Earth space starts? Science is confusing.

Hitchmeister:
So, it's even less clear where the solar system ends than it is how high above the Earth space starts? Science is confusing.

"How high above Earth space starts" is a weird question because the transition is incredibly gradual, taking place over hundreds of kilometers.
The US will award anyone with the "astronaut's wings" recognition if they cross 80km (50 miles). The International Space Station is orbiting 400km above earth, but it still feels a slight drag of atmospheric gasses. Even 800km out in space you can still detect oxygen/nitrogen, where it all eventually gets caught in the magnetic solar wind and dragged-out even further. Soooo yeah, it's impossible to definitely say where space begins.
Approximately 100km up is the point where there isn't enough air for an aircraft with wings to obtain "lift" without going at orbital velocity (25000-27000 kph), or it will be pulled back down. Some say that's where space un-officially starts.

Where the solar system ends is even more debated and has even a less clearer answer lol, we are talking boundaries that are millions of km wide.

Amazing that Voyager is still operational this long, and so aptly named if it's going to leave our Solar System.
Wait, what's on the Golden Disk going with it?

When I saw the "UPDATED" tag I was half expecting to see "Voyager Turns Around, Sends New Radio Message: I'm Coming Home, It's Cold Out Here"

Seriously, a lot of people don't seem to grasp the significance of this. This is the furthest any human-made object has ever gone, and the first to leave the solar system proper (even if it can't be considered "in interstellar space" quite yet). Now if we'd just fund (and care about) space travel the way we ought to be....

havoc33:

Yuuki:
They make it sound exciting but the truth is, a hunk of metal we sent into nothingness 35 years ago is now traveling through vast areas of even more nothingness.

Space is very, very empty. Some people make it sound like you could bump into a fascinating new planet or space-dust, but it's really not the case.

Think of an empty volume the size of Earth. Now occupy that volume with 1 grain of sand, placed in the middle. That grain of sand represents our entire solar system (including Kuiper belt, comets, etc), and that grain of sand is the only grain of sand there, you will not find any more sand in that volume.

Voyager 1 has only just managed to get away from that grain of sand. It is estimated that Voyager 1 will have to travel for another 40,000-50,000 years to reach the next grain of sand (i.e. Alpha Centauri, the closest star). That's longer than the length of time that humans have been walking upright.

That's how depressingly empty space is.

Is this really the case? Thank you for clearing this up for me. :D

I really don't know how space works at all. I'm always amazed when I hear about the recent Mars missions, as I thought it was a miracle that we are able to land spacecrafts there without it getting hit by anything on it's way over there. Is it really nothing it can hit underways towards Mars? Comets, meteors... SOMETHING? lol, I'm such an idiot when it comes to this topic.

Here's a video that should give a small idea on the distances involved:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr07okHZZvE

Even at the speed of light the closest star is 4 years away (if I recall correctly), at the speed we can currently achieve we would need a generation ship to even try it. And poor old Voyager 1 and 2 are pottering away at a snails pace.

Yuuki:
They make it sound exciting but the truth is, a hunk of metal we sent into nothingness 35 years ago is now traveling through vast areas of even more nothingness.

Space is very, very empty. Some people make it sound like you could bump into a fascinating new planet or space-dust, but it's really not the case.

Think of an empty volume the size of Earth. Now occupy that volume with 1 grain of sand, placed in the middle. That grain of sand represents our entire solar system (including Kuiper belt, comets, etc), and that grain of sand is the only grain of sand there, you will not find any more sand in that volume.

Voyager 1 has only just managed to get away from that grain of sand. It is estimated that Voyager 1 will have to travel for another 40,000-50,000 years to reach the next grain of sand (i.e. Alpha Centauri, the closest star). That's longer than the length of time that humans have been walking upright.

That's how depressingly empty space is.

Um...humans have been walking upright for much longer than 50,000 years. Modern humans had already reached Australia by them, and were being chased by giant ducks and goannas and crocodiles and things. There were also giant kangaroos, but they weren't carnivorous.

OTOH, yeah...cant find that XKC comic where he is desperately holding on to the ground, because the sky is an endless abyss that goes off for forever as most people would think of it, but...it is, kinda.

I hope it returns someday, if only to make Event Horizon come true.

Aeshi:

EHKOS:

The Artificially Prolonged:
I'm amazed by the fact Voyager is still going. I mean its been out there for over 30 years and is still working perfectly, you'd assume something would break down after all that time.

That's true, I wish we still built cars and appliances that way.

I'd just like to point out that unlike Cars & Appliances, Voyager 1 has the Luxury of being in a vacuum, which does help it's lifespan somewhat (60% sure it doesn't have as many moving parts either)

In theory Voyager should be around for millions of years (if not longer_ unless it either runs out of power (unlikely, given how many stars there are out there) or something hits it (even more unlikely).

In a vacuum, with the temperature about as close to Absolute Zero as you will find in nature and not protected by the Van Allen Belts is an EXTREMELY harsh environment. Metals and plastics behave weirdly in such an environment, and we knew a lot less about the effects of it back when it was built. So it is a testament to the skill of the designers and builders of this spacecraft that it is still functional (and the foresight of the politicians who funded it). Given the budget and political constraints that NASA has to work with these days I doubt they could build something similar.

Evil Smurf:

Mypetmonkey:

Please for the love of your future warnings, please add something else to your post, something that is relevant to the convocation. a video alone does not cut it. it may in other forums but we are not IGN or 4CHAN here.

On topic, all I can think of is star trek. What if there are aliens!

Sorry... Plz advise me on a RPG about the ME3 ending should i buy it derp.... and is mario sexist to lara croft with white phosphorous?? And is it the worst game ever?

Terramax:
I hope it returns someday, if only to make Event Horizon come true.

Event Horizon? Really? Unless I'm mistaken, that trip was hardly a barrel of laughs for those involved! :O

Anyway, hopefully instead of taking a trip to hell, some preferably friendly (and hopefully attractive) aliens pick it up and decide to check out the source of the primitive contraption. Get it done!

Yuuki:
Voyager 1 has only just managed to get away from that grain of sand. It is estimated that Voyager 1 will have to travel for another 40,000-50,000 years to reach the next grain of sand (i.e. Alpha Centauri, the closest star). That's longer than the length of time that humans have been walking upright.

That's how depressingly empty space is.

Longer than humans have been walking upright? Well .. maybe if you believe the Creationists, sure. If you just missed a zero you'd be closer.

If you took a human baby from those times and put them through current education they'd likely turn out smarter and stronger than most of us - the pressures of natural selection back then were far greater than now - just take a walk around your local mall and you'll see dozens of examples of dead-end lienages - and with the medical care and diet and education of today you'd probably be looking at a rather potent combination of genetic potential with modern tech.

Anyhoo OT: interesting milestone I guess. I'd be far more impressed when a man (or woman!) walks on another planet. Voyager drifting out into the inky void frankly is about as interesting as rolling up a fortune cookie note inside a ping pong ball and tossing it in the ocean. It'll drift for ages, likely no intelligent life will see it again, and it'll probably end up in the belly of a Space Kraken.

Hey it could happen.

Hell, many of the scientists responsible for getting Voyager aloft are dead by now ... but science for science's sake is always better than nothing, and NASA is famed for getting every last ounce of juice out of their gadgets. Hell, give em a stone and they'll give you a pint of blood.

So how long till it reaches the Delta quadrant?

so does this mean it's still making discoveries?

What a good investment if that's the case!

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