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  • Voyager 1 enters new region of solar system

    By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, December 4

    The unstoppable Voyager 1 spacecraft has sailed into a new realm of the solar system that scientists did not know existed. Over the summer, Voyager 1 crossed into this new region where the effects from the outside can be felt. “We do believe this may be the very last layer between us and interstellar space,” said chief scientist Ed Stone of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the spacecraft.

    Voyager 1 is on track to become the first man-made object to exit the solar system. Exactly when that day will come is unknown, partly because there’s no precedent.

    Scientists were surprised to discover the unexpected region at the fringes of the solar system — a testament to the mysteries of space. For the past year, the team has seen tantalizing clues that heralded a new space environment. The amount of high-energy cosmic rays streaming in from outside the solar system spiked. Meanwhile, the level of lower-energy particles originating from inside the solar system briefly dropped. Because there was no change in the direction of the magnetic field lines, scientists were confident that Voyager 1 had not yet broken through. They have dubbed this new zone a kind of “magnetic highway.”

    Though the cameras aboard the nuclear-powered Voyagers have long been turned off, the probes have enough power to operate the other instruments until around 2020.

    From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...02c_story.html
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

  • #2
    From Space.com...
    Voyager 1 Spacecraft Enters New Realm at Solar System's Edge

    by Clara Moskowitz, SPACE.com Assistant Managing EditorDate: 03 December 2012

    NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has discovered a new layer of the solar system that scientists hadn't known was there, researchers announced today (Dec. 3).

    [...]

    "We do believe this may be the very last layer between us and interstellar space," Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, Calif., said during a teleconference with reporters. "This region was not anticipated, was not predicted."

    [...]

    The scientists don't think the Voyagers have left the solar system yet because of the orientation of the magnetic field they detect. So far, this field still runs east-west, in agreement with the field created by the sun and twisted by its rotation. Outside the solar system, models predict the magnetic field to be orientated more north-south.

    As Voyager 1, the outermost of the two spacecraft, gets farther and farther away, it measures more and more of the higher-energy charged particles thought to originate beyond the solar system, compared to the lower-energy particles thought to come from the sun.

    "Things have actually changed dramatically," said Stamatios Krimigis, principal investigator of the low-energy charged particle instrument, based at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. "The particles from outside have increased a lot and those on the inside … have dropped quite a bit."

    The Voyagers are NASA's longest-running spacecraft, and will keep traveling outward even after they've left the sun's neighborhood. However, it will be at least 40,000 years before they ever come close to another star, Stone said.

    Long before that the probes will run out of power to operate their scientific instruments and beam their findings back home.

    "We will have enough power for all the instruments until 2020; at that point we will have to turn off our first instrument," Stone said. By 2025 the last instrument will have to be turned off.

    "We're very lucky that there seems to be a compatibility between our mission and the extent of the heliosphere," Stone said.



    Space.com
    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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    • #3
      It's like we're in a bubble within a bubble flying through space, protected by an invisible force that shields us from what exactly?
      The Europa Barbarorum II team [M2TW] needs YOUR HELP NOW HERE!

      Comment


      • #4
        Voyager probes are still talking to Australia after 40 years


        This month marks 40 years since NASA launched the two Voyager space probes on their mission to explore the outer planets of our solar system, and Australia has been helping the US space agency keep track of the probes at every step of their epic journey.

        CSIRO operates NASA's tracking station in Canberra, a set of four radio telescopes, or dishes, known as the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC).

        It's one of three tracking stations spaced around the globe, which form the Deep Space Network. The other two are at Goldstone, in California, and Madrid, in Spain.

        Between them they provide NASA, and other space exploration agencies, with continuous, two-way radio communication coverage to every part of the solar system.

        Four decades on and the Australian tracking station is now the only one with the right equipment and position to be able to communicate with both of the probes as they continue to push back the boundaries of deep space exploration.

        https://phys.org/news/2017-08-edge-s...australia.html
        "Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience" George Carlin

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        • #5
          38,000 mph for 39 years, and just reaching interstellar space...wow
          and still working...wow!!!
          that's some dam good engineering....they can't even make a refrigerator or car work that long without maintenance

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
            It's like we're in a bubble within a bubble flying through space, protected by an invisible force that shields us from what exactly?
            Essentially various forms of radiation not only from our own star but from the Galaxy as a whole. So for example without Earths magnetic field our own sun would kill off all complex life on earth. The fact that Mars does not have a magnetic field (although it may have had once) is going to make establishing long term human habitation on that planet rather problematic.

            It's tempting to take a rather panglossian view of earth.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              It's tempting to take a rather panglossian view of earth.
              "Panglossian" Great word!


              Seeds require the right environment to grow...
              Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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              • #8
                [QUOTE=Pirate-Drakk;3395761]"Panglossian" Great word!

                /QUOTE]

                Frederick the Great's old mate François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) should really get the credit.
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                • #9
                  Nuclear power for a thing the size of a motorcycle, and still running after 40 years...

                  Am I the only one that is feeling a bit cheated here?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fantastic when you consider the technology then compared to now and now we have trouble keeping Internet Sites up and running
                    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                      Fantastic when you consider the technology then compared to now and now we have trouble keeping Internet Sites up and running
                      and ''sailing''/navigating ships

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                        Nuclear power for a thing the size of a motorcycle, and still running after 40 years...

                        Am I the only one that is feeling a bit cheated here?
                        The Voyager probes use a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or RTG as a power source. They convert HEAT (provided by Plutonium-238) to electricity: Not very efficient, not very safe, not very cost friendly, reliable and long duration. Perfect for a long range probe!

                        Here's the specs on NASA's latest greatest RTG.:

                        "The MMRTG produces electricity at an operational efficiency of 6 to 7 percent. Multiple MMRTGs could be combined to provide higher levels of electrical power for missions that require it. Each MMRTG carries 10.6 pounds (4.8 kilograms) of plutonium-238 dioxide as its nuclear fuel, using eight General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules to produce about 110 Watts of electrical power in total."
                        https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/rps/rtg.cfm

                        Voyager Trivia: the primary computer storage device is 8-track tape!
                        Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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                        • #13
                          In this link you can see some of the pictures the probes have sent back through the years.


                          https://www.space.com/37847-nasa-voy...rs-photos.html
                          "Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience" George Carlin

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                          • #14
                            There's also the smallest space probe...Sprite. It weighs 4 grams. It has its own solar panel, communication capabilities and sensors.


                            The world's smallest space probe, conceived at Menlo Park's visionary Breakthrough Starshot, has phoned home. The flying computer chip dubbed "Sprite," the size of a Saltine cracker, is healthy, happy and sending us signals from Earth's orbit, 400 miles from home.
                            It's still a long way from where its progeny may someday travel: our neighboring star system Alpha Centauri, 24 trillion miles away. The dream is for Sprite-like spacecraft to take close-up images and collect data - maybe even detect gases produced by alien life.
                            The little Sprite could someday help answer the big questions of life in the Universe: Are we alone? Are there habitable worlds out there? If so, can we reach them?

                            https://phys.org/news/2017-08-messag...ace-probe.html
                            "Stand for the flag ~ Kneel for the fallen"

                            "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." ~ Bruce Lee

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