Not even coronavirus can stop Voyager!
Thank %deity% for that.
Both Voyagers truly are a gift that keeps giving
For the engineers who "over fuelled" them. And the managers who signed it off
NASA's extraordinarily long-lived Voyager 1 probe this week passed 14 billion miles from Earth. It takes light nearly 21 hours to reach the spacecraft, making commanding the thing increasingly tricky. Of course, the distance counter can occasionally roll backwards slightly due to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, but the …
I have always thought that Pioneer 10/11 and Voyager 1/2 represent the absolute pinnacle of NASA's success. Yes they have had spectacular missions since (think Galileo and Cassini), but really those missions simply followed in the footsteps in order to learn more about the mysteries uncovered by there far-way predecessors.
May Pioneer 10/11 and Voyager 1/2 rest in peace in the external darkness of space. We will remember you.
Well, I'm with you in spirit, but I also hope New Horizons gives them a run for their money . . . . . . . . . . eventually!
I have the Haynes manual for these missons, and it's a fantastic read / oggle.
I do find it sad that it's probably my only Haynes manual that won't ever get oily...
Though for a Holst reference how about a TV documentary on Black Sabbath I saw where they explained that Toni Iommi had listened to the planets suite and had been playing around with a riff based on the tue at the start when Geezer Butler thought it sounded quite good, came up with some words and that was the first eponumous track on their first (also eponymous) album
Given the length of time Voyager has been going I assume we're talking about the 15 minute live verison of Space Trucking (complete with a ~5 minute drum and organ section in the middle while, I assume, the rest of the band sloped off for a backstsage fag!).
N.b. 35 years ago as part of my maths degree at Oxford I did an option on Error Correcting Codes - even then the lecturer said he was astonished NASA could still talk to Voyager given how far away it was!
Given that this was built in 1977, the plutonium-238 in the three radioisotope thermoelectric generators is about half way through its first half-life. The half-life is 87.7 years or so. With a dwindling power supply, the probe is still operating with two computers, four instruments, and a microwave transceiver. It brings a tear to my eye: The little probe that could.
Old Engineers vs new engineers:
The Voyagers have been running for more than 40 years, meanwhile the phone I bought two years ago just got a software update and is now unusable, the battery was dying anyway, time to chuck it. I worked with a former NASA engineer who was involved with the Voyager project and the system that he designed for us in the 80's is still running fine too.
Voyager is the worst marketing nightmare: With some careful engineering, they could had built it way cheaper for the same selling price, and sold NASA about 50 Voyager replacements since. Okay, to sweeten the deal, with some
minor groundbreaking improvements, like making it thinner and removing the antenna (wireless antenna option sold separately). At least they got the irremovable battery part right.
I flew my Viper MkIII out to see the Voyager probes. The game has them farther out than in real life due to it (the game) being set in the future.
Even at many times the speed of light it takes a rather long and boring time to get to them from Earth. Strange to think you can 'hyperspace' in seconds to the nearest star system to save you the bother of the long haul back to Earth.
"Even at many times the speed of light it takes a rather long and boring time to get to them from Earth."
At some point in the future (probably not within my lifetime) we will be able to "catch-up" to the Voyager probes with such ridiculous ease, I can imagine new exploratory probes whizzing past V1 and V2 and waving their
hands antennae and sending a signal all the way back to Earth that translates to something like "Wheeeee!!!!!"
Unless they hit something the pioneers and voyagers will still be going long after this world has been consumed by our our star, many billions of years away. They won’t be functioning though unless some being powers them up.
Should have put some seeds in them.
Life on earth has always moved into new areas.
In space we must spread to other places too.
"It is currently travelling at just over 38,000mph (with respect to the Sun)."
It's far enough away to notice that the light is travelling relative to the sun and our solar system.
So our solar system might be hurling a billion miles an hour through our galaxy and our galaxy might be hurling a trillion miles a hour through the universe (or whatever), yet the light is moving 'at the speed of light' with respect to our solar system towards voyager and also moving *with* the solar system at those billion and trillion miles an hour in the same direction as the solar system is moving.
Otherwise, if light didn't move relative to our sun, voyager would be able to see how fast our solar system is moving relative to universe 'stationary'.
It's a subtle thing, not to be confused with the delay in the time for the light to arrive.
Please put down your crack pipe and step away from your keyboard!
Albert's Law states that a billion miles an hour is already breaking the speed limit by nearly 50%! So a trillion is right out of the question!
And them brainy boffin scientists have already come up with a speed for our solar system against Universal rest. I believe this came from the slight red/blue shift seen in the CMB.
"Sad that in the decades since NASA has likely launched more paper across desks than useful payload"
While the Voyagers are epic probes for their endurance, they were flyby probes that only briefly visited their destinations. Since then, NASA has favored orbiters and landers like:
* Cassini and Huygens (with the ESA) at Saturn
*Galileo and and its atmospheric probe at Jupiter
*Juno, also at Jupiter
*Dawn, orbiting multiple main belt asteroids
*MESSENGER, orbiting Mercury
*OSIRIS-ReX, orbiting asteroid Bennu
*Magellan, orbiting Venus
*Numerous Mars orbiters, rovers, and landers
*Parker Solar Probe, diving through the Sun's corona repeatedly
And that's just a sampling of NASA's post-Voyager projects.
I was 15 years old and eagerly scouting National Geographics for news on Voyager. It was a wonderful publication at the time. I remember seeing the first ever "close-ups" of Jupiter and Saturn and the pictures just blew my mind.
In one monthly edition there was a poster of our galaxy, our position in it, and it's position in the local cluster. I had that poster on my wall for years and years. Sadly, I lost it when I moved at some point.
I think I should credit National Geographics and Voyager for getting me interested in space.
I heard that in an early atomic experiment the set off a bomb in a tube with a metal cap, they think the cap may have reached escape velocity.
It might be still out there. I can see an alien space pilot cursing these bloody man hole covers littered all over the intergalactic highways.
Operation Plumbbob, the Pascal B test, if memory serves.
It's a popular belief that the cap reached escape velocity and the measurements (from a single still image from a high-speed camera) do bear that out, but it's generally assumed that the thing would have vaporised long before escaping the atmosphere. It likely never reached space.
Wikipedia page, if people want to do some more reading on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plumbbob
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