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NASA's venerable Voyager 1 probe has encountered a strange new region at the outer reaches of the solar system, suggesting the spacecraft is poised to pop free into interstellar space, scientists say.

Voyager 1, which has been zooming through space for more than 35 years, observed a dramatic drop in solar particles and a simultaneous big jump in high-energy galactic cosmic rays last August, the scientists announced in three new studies published June 27 in the journal Science.

The probe did not measure a shift in the direction of the ambient magnetic field, indicating that Voyager 1 is still within the sun's sphere of influence, researchers said. But mission scientists think the spacecraft will likely leave Earth's solar system relatively soon.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, launched a few weeks apart in 1977 to study Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The probes completed this unprecedented "grand tour" and then kept right on flying toward interstellar space.

Voyager 1 should get there first. At 11.5 billion miles from Earth, the spacecraft is the farthest man-made object in space. Voyager 2, for its part, is now 9.4 billion miles from home.

Both probes are currently plying the outer layers of the heliosphere, the enormous bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields surrounding the sun. But things are really getting interesting for Voyager 1, the new studies report.

On Aug. 25, 2012, the probe recorded a 1,000-fold drop in the number of charged solar particles while also measuring a 9 percent increase in fast-moving particles of galactic origin called cosmic rays.

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NASA's venerable Voyager 1 probe has encountered a strange new region at the outer reaches of the solar system, suggesting the spacecraft is poised to pop free into interstellar space, scientists say.

Voyager 1, which has been zooming through space for more than 35 years, observed a dramatic drop in solar particles and a simultaneous big jump in high-energy galactic cosmic rays last August, the scientists announced in three new studies published June 27 in the journal Science.

The probe did not measure a shift in the direction of the ambient magnetic field, indicating that Voyager 1 is still within the sun's sphere of influence, researchers said. But mission scientists think the spacecraft will likely leave Earth's solar system relatively soon.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, launched a few weeks apart in 1977 to study Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The probes completed this unprecedented "grand tour" and then kept right on flying toward interstellar space.

Voyager 1 should get there first. At 11.5 billion miles from Earth, the spacecraft is the farthest man-made object in space. Voyager 2, for its part, is now 9.4 billion miles from home.

Both probes are currently plying the outer layers of the heliosphere, the enormous bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields surrounding the sun. But things are really getting interesting for Voyager 1, the new studies report.

On Aug. 25, 2012, the probe recorded a 1,000-fold drop in the number of charged solar particles while also measuring a 9 percent increase in fast-moving particles of galactic origin called cosmic rays.

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hopefully it's able to actually reach interstellar space before it's fuel runs out in 2025.

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Posted

^ I thought Voyager would keep on drifting from inertia ...

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hopefully it's able to actually reach interstellar space before it's fuel runs out in 2025.

Wouldn't inertia keep it going?

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^ I thought Voyager would keep on drifting from inertia ...

it should keep going via inertia however, when the fuel runs out we will lose contact with it.

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Posted

Imagine if this thing has a camera from today's technology on board.

 

Shame they've had to turn so much stuff off to maintain it's fuel.

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Kind of makes you think, if you were there to witness it all, the voyage.

 

Question: Do we have any other satellite, with modern tech,  sent out (in recent years) to discover like the Voyager 1 & 2?

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Kind of makes you think, if you were there to witness it all, the voyage.

 

Question: Do we have any other satellite, with modern tech,  sent out (in recent years) to discover like the Voyager 1 & 2?

 

New Horizons 

14 Jul 2015 Flyby of PlutoCharonHydraNixS/2011 P 1 and S/2012 P 1 Flyby of Pluto around 11:47 UTC at 13,695 km, 13.78 km/s. Flyby of Charon, Hydra, Nix, S/2011 P 1 and S/2012 P 1 around 12:01 UTC at 29,473 km, 13.87 km/s. [41]  
 
2016
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Posted

hmmm no solar powered anything on board?

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hmmm no solar powered anything on board?

 

I doubt there is enough sunlight to even power an LED that far out :D

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What about Solar powered fuel cells that could be used up and then recharged saved for usage once it's outside the range of the sun...  That's what I would have done... *shrug*

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Posted

I doubt there is enough sunlight to even power an LED that far out :D

Until it gets to the next solar system. :p

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Posted

Or a darkmatter powered :shiftyninja:

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Posted

Meh.  The Klingon's are just going to blow it up eventually, anyway...

 

[wyoutube]LOqoljJ0ees[/wyoutube]

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Posted

I've always put inventory stickers on Corsair Voyager packaging so that "oya" is fully covered. Nobody thus far picked up the reference :(

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Posted

Let me know when it goes beyond the rim, my dudes

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I'm not sure why, but I tend to think Voyager will be destroyed, whenever it does leave the solar system -- by cosmic rays or something.

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I'm not sure why, but I tend to think Voyager will be destroyed, whenever it does leave the solar system -- by cosmic rays or something.

 

That'll be the "Star Trek Effect".

 

Hopefully, Kirk will be around with V'Ger returns... :p

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Kind of makes you think, if you were there to witness it all, the voyage.

 

you would get really bored after a week... 

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Posted

Apparently, the Voyager probe is now "officially" in interstellar space!
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24026153
 

The Voyager-1 spacecraft has become the first manmade object to leave the Solar System.

Scientists say the probe's instruments indicate it has moved beyond the bubble of hot gas from our Sun and is now moving in the space between the stars.

Launched in 1977, Voyager was sent initially to study the outer planets, but then just kept on going.

Today, the veteran Nasa mission is almost 19 billion km (12 billion miles) from home.

This distance is so vast that it takes 17 hours now for a radio signal sent from Voyager to reach receivers here on Earth.

"This is really a key milestone that we'd been hoping we would reach when we started this project over 40 years ago - that we would get a spacecraft into interstellar space," said Prof Ed Stone, the chief scientist on the venture.

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Posted

We are now interstellar space travelers whether we want to be or not.

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Posted

Its done surprisingly well to survive so long considering all the meteors and other hazards out there in the void of space

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Posted

Meanwhile, 200+ years from now...

 

USS_Enterprise_approaches_V%27Ger%27s_cl

 

 

:whistle:

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