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#1 Hum

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 14:26

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Voyager 1, launched in 1977 to explore the outer planets, has passed into a new region on its way out of the solar system, scientists said on Wednesday.

The spacecraft, now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion km) away, detected two distinct and related changes in its environment on August 25, 2012, scientists write in paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters and emailed to Reuters on Wednesday.

The probe detected dramatic changes in the levels of two types of radiation, one that stays inside the solar system, the other which comes from interstellar space.

The number of particles inside the solar system's bubble in space, a region called the heliosphere, dropped to less than 1 percent of previously detected levels, while radiation from interstellar sources nearly doubled, said astronomer and lead author Bill Webber, professor emeritus at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Scientists are not yet ready to say Voyager is in interstellar space, however.

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#2 +warwagon

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 14:29

Can you imagine if that thing had 2013 tech onboard...

#3 OP Hum

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 14:31

Hope Voyager doesn't hit Planet X ...

#4 glen8

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 14:37

Might be a silly question

If it's 11 billion miles away, how are we receiving data from it? Serious question, I'm intrigued

#5 Crisp

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 14:42

Might be a silly question

If it's 11 billion miles away, how are we receiving data from it? Serious question, I'm intrigued


The same way they do with probes close by, it just takes longer.

Good documentry by Hawkings, you get a good idea of Voyagers speed and the distance of local planets / stars...

http://youtu.be/H5zSWQwpjPg

#6 vetneufuse

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 14:44

Can you imagine if that thing had 2013 tech onboard...


then it would of gotten 1/3rd the way and died of a software glitch :rofl: seriously though, the hardware back then was designed to last forever... now days... ugh

#7 DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 17:54

Can you imagine if that thing had 2013 tech onboard...


They would have gotten where they are MUCH sooner!!

The Voyagers are just coasting, using whatever speed they got from their launchers and gravitational slingshotting past the worlds they encountered.

Modern probes like the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres use ion or plasma thrusters, which don't provide much power but they can run for years straight using very little fuel - usually argon, xenon or some other gas. This lets them build up very high speeds.

Ion anx plasma drives are ghe future of in-space propulsion. They could reduce the Mars transit time from almost a year to a few weeks. All they need is lots of electric power.

#8 Setnom

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 17:59

Might be a silly question

If it's 11 billion miles away, how are we receiving data from it? Serious question, I'm intrigued


With the Deep Space Network.

EDIT: If you're talking about the Voyager 1's capabilities, check this out.

#9 JJ_

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 18:06

Might be a silly question

If it's 11 billion miles away, how are we receiving data from it? Serious question, I'm intrigued


Saw this story on the news yesterday and wondered the same thing. An incredible feat. for a probe sent up 30+ years ago and NASA claim it still has enough juice on board to power it for 10~ more years. It takes roughly 14 hours to get a response back from it which will increase in due course.

#10 Setnom

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 18:15

Yeah, that's what nuclear power does. :D

#11 DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 18:21

Yup - those RTG's have a half-life of about 88 years.

#12 spacer

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 18:23

That is an awesome achievement for Voyager. It really is an incredible feat of engineering that something made 30+ years ago has been traveling through our solar system this whole time, orbiting planets, moons, taking measurements/pictures, and is still going strong (with 10 or so years left before it runs out of power) without so much as a hiccup.

It just boggles the mind when you stop and think about everything that had to be planned and anticipated in order for all of that to happen. (and a bit of luck to boot) Man it would have been cool to see some of things Voyager has seen from it's perspective.

Also, I'm really surprised it hasn't hit anything yet. :rofl:

#13 OP Hum

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 18:29

^ +1 on the hitting something else. :laugh:

#14 chrisj1968

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 18:37

then it would of gotten 1/3rd the way and died of a software glitch :rofl: seriously though, the hardware back then was designed to last forever... now days... ugh


to quote the Russian from Armageddon, "Russian components, American components.. ALL Made in Taiwan!!!!"




#15 DocM

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 19:04

to quote the Russian from Armageddon, "Russian components, American components.. ALL Made in Taiwan!!!!"


Not entirely correct. Chips & discrete compondnts may comd from Asia, but most US hardware like radiation tolerant boards & computers are made here or in Europe.

Russia also makes much of their own stuff, and a lack of quality control is why they're having trouble.

SpaceX is notorious for making the vast majority of their gear in-house, avoiding outside contractors where ever they can. Metal & small parts go in one end of Hawthorne, rockets & spacecraft go out the other.