Science 50 years old
Still going and still outstanding!
NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has followed its sibling, Voyager 1, into interstellar space, according to the team managing the veteran spacecraft. Voyager 1 exited the heliosphere – the bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun that surrounds the solar system – back in 2012, although it took the best part of a year …
And when I look at my collection of electronic equipment there are not many things that have a similar age. My dad's electric drill and my granddad's record player (well, "compact" stereo, like voyager stuff keeps failing, the core function, for me the turn table, is still good, as is the amp). Both very simple devices. I doubt that any of the stuff I bought will be around in 50 years (or even 20). Except for my Harmann Kardon amp...
I doubt that any of the stuff I bought will be around in 50 years (or even 20). Except for my Harmann Kardon amp...
I still have the stereo I bought back in '92: Pioneer A400 amp, Pioneer PDS901 CD player, and a pair of Mission Cyrus 781 speakers. Still all going strong - the only thing I've had to repair was gluing the lens back into its housing in the CD player. I've gone through numerous other small stereo systems since then, but these components are still going strong after 26 years. (Admittedly I've not taken them for a spin around the solar system - yet...)
"a spin around the solar system" ohh, so they are stationary in space somewhere and earth "flies by" every year, then ?
Well, if they were stationary in space the Earth would never fly by ever again. ;)
So here's a question for the bored-at-work: If it was possible to remove all gravitational influences on an object on the 1st of January, 1970, and leave that object at rest in space in close proximity to where the Earth was at that time, how far away would it be now?
Well, consider that according to measured blue shift of the CMB (red shift if you're in Australia), we are moving at at roughly 368 ± 2 km/s relative to the rest of the Universe. That's as close to absolute as we can get at the moment.
Throw in the motion of "The Local Group", and we're moving at 627 ± 22 km/s relative to the CMB.
Given that your post was made 1,544,611,672 seconds after your proposed start time (really!), the math(s) becomes fairly easy. (Find out how long it's been, in seconds, with this command in a *nix shell: date +%s. As I type, it's 1,544,633,943 seconds.)
My wife bought me a Linn Sondek LP12 in 1974, it is still working well. It became a bit of a Trigger's broom as various bits were upgraded, but the basic chassis is still the same. When I was younger, and even more foolish, we spent serious money adding similar "quality" Linn/Naim HiFi kit to it until the late 1980s - So a thoughtful (but expensive) gift became a very expensive hobby. I had a car accident that meant that I could not drive and enjoy it, so it was sold on - The new owner is about 25 years younger than me and still very pleased with it, so hopefully it will live on.
My only other bit of long-lived "high tech" kit (for the time) is a 1941 Longines wristwatch from my father which still works well. Nothing that I have acquired since has/will last anything like as long; but to put it in perspective the LP12 was about a month's wages and the watch about a fortnight's.
I remember learning about the Voyager 1 & 2 in grade school, and the school had a vinyl replica of the gold record that we passed around. I wonder how many of those were made, and what they'd go for on eBay these days? Might still be sitting on a shelf in a dark corner of a storage room in my old grade school, which is closing next year. If they have a "garage sale" maybe I should go there to see if I can find it :)
Pretty cool they are both still going, too bad they are going to run out of power within my lifetime (or at least so I hope!) I have a feeling some billionaire will cause a ruckus a century from now by recovering one of them, bringing it back to Earth, and putting it on display in his house.
Can NASA arrest property rights over them once they are dead, or would it be considered similar to salvaging a shipwreck in international waters?
If you can't find one of the old replicas, there was a Kickstarter project that produced a vinyl version for the 40th anniversary.
Check out Ozma Records for more information. I pledged for one and it cost me almost as much to ship it to the UK as I pledged for it.
I have a feeling some billionaire will cause a ruckus a century from now by recovering one of them, bringing it back to Earth, and putting it on display in his house.
If it makes you feel better it would take a LOT of effort to do so.
Using chemical rockets would probably be too expensive to even just catch up to either Voyager probe, let alone return to Earth with them.
They're both currently traveling at more than 15km/s so you'd have to accelerate to a speed faster than that to catch up to one of them, then capture it and change direction to head back to earth. That's a *very* large amount of delta-V which means a tremendous amount of fuel would be needed.
" 'I have a feeling some billionaire will cause a ruckus a century from now by recovering one of them, bringing it back to Earth, and putting it on display in his house.'
If it makes you feel better it would take a LOT of effort to do so.
Using chemical rockets would probably be too expensive to even just catch up to either Voyager probe, let alone return to Earth with them."
I for one have seen the excellent documentary "Star Trek, the Motion Picture", in which it's made clear mankind will reach Voyager using a space drive powered by a matter/anti-matter reaction. Now where did I leave those dilithium crystals?
Yup, it's been 50 years since we sent our interplanetary^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hstellar neighbours a mix track, some nudes and directions to our house.
Put it like that, it sounds like a teenagers clumsy dating strategy.
Couple of thousand years, could be an interstellar cop car round to caution the human race for being too young to be distributing nudes of themselves. Worst case, we could find ourselves on a Galactic Register.
I wasn't even around 50 years ago.
I was cbars, and it wasn't that great really. I mean it was OK, but my Mum would hardly let me out of her sight which was a drag, and the tie my Dad wore to work was a huge embarrassment.
On the other hand Cream were amazing at the time, and the joys of progressive rock were still to come.
Double up your 16.6 hours: that's just one way. It will take 33 hours before the response from your keypress gets painted on your screen.
OTOH nothing stops you sending more keystrokes before you see any characters echoed from Voyager. You could type:
without any pauses, but then you'd still have to wait 33 hours to get the password prompt - assuming you didn't make any typing mistakes and your session didn't time out in the meantime.
All the crap we are bombarded with in the news, politics, the economy, terrorism, religion, dwindling privacy, social media and SJWs continuing campaign to silence everyone except themselves.
Along comes a little story about a little object making a little journey through our corner of the cosmos. It gives this little human a glimmer of hope for our little species when we overcome all the crap from above and dream big.
Yep, space is hugely big all right.
From the article, I was doing well with the 18bn km ( i can visualise that, yeah) in 40+ years.
Them, whammo, 300 more years to get to the start of the Ooort Cloud and 30,000 years to get to the other side. Ridiculous, even if it is the proverbial peanuts v the universe.
You'll be telling me next that even if it could be speeded up and fly indefinitely, that it would never reach the edge of the universe.
Can you imagine though that it did, peered over the edge and radioed back what it found?
"The last unstable planet in this region has been neutralised. Nothing to see here, phenomenologically speaking. Please move along. Post addenda under the keyword "leopard" in a filing cabinet in your nearest electrically-deficient disused lavatory. Preferably underground."
What it actually means is that the objects are gravitationally bound to the Sun, which means their total (gravitational potential + kinetic) energy is negative as measured in the centre of mass frame of the system (and with the convention that gravitational PE is zero at infinity).
I presume the Voyagers, for instance are not gravitationally bound to the Sun.
This makes me feel incredibly poignant. Just thinking about where these two little pieces of cold war era tech are, and where they are going. It really puts the sheer scale of Space into perspective when you realize that they have only just made it to the edge of our solar system, and that beyond that lie another few billion in our Galaxy alone (happy to be corrected) and that they they won't get anywhere near the next object in it. It makes me feel VERY small. Just imagine how cold and quiet it is out there...
Well done little chaps. Happy trails. .
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