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Mon Jun 18, 2012, 12:59 PM

Voyager space probe reaches edge of solar system

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - The Voyager 1 space probe has reached the edge of the solar system, extending its record for being the most distant man-made object in space.

According to a statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the spacecraft is sending back data to Earth showing a sharp increase in charged particles that originate from beyond the solar system.

"Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion - that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system," NASA said in the statement.

Voyager 1, along with its sister spacecraft Voyager 2, was launched in 1977 and is now about 18 billion kilometers from the Sun. It is moving at a speed of about 17 km per second and it currently takes 16 hours and 38 minutes for data to reach NASA's network on Earth. Voyager 2 is about 15 billion kilometers from the Sun.

Read more: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/15/us-space-voyager-probe-idINBRE85E0VU20120615



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Arrow 49 replies Author Time Post
Reply Voyager space probe reaches edge of solar system (Original post)
Adenoid_Hynkel Jun 2012 OP
Brickbat Jun 2012 #1
slackmaster Jun 2012 #3
Brickbat Jun 2012 #4
Adenoid_Hynkel Jun 2012 #6
oregonjen Jun 2012 #14
drm604 Jun 2012 #21
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #37
Art_from_Ark Jun 2012 #41
ieoeja Jun 2012 #47
Liberal Veteran Jun 2012 #10
No DUplicitous DUpe Jun 2012 #15
Stargazer09 Jun 2012 #25
TheMadMonk Jun 2012 #22
Warren DeMontague Jun 2012 #30
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #38
Warren DeMontague Jun 2012 #43
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #35
snooper2 Jun 2012 #11
Psephos Jun 2012 #17
awoke_in_2003 Jun 2012 #42
slackmaster Jun 2012 #2
SCantiGOP Jun 2012 #16
Spitfire of ATJ Jun 2012 #28
Autumn Jun 2012 #5
hrmjustin Jun 2012 #7
Adenoid_Hynkel Jun 2012 #9
Cooley Hurd Jun 2012 #12
ileus Jun 2012 #8
harun Jun 2012 #20
kestrel91316 Jun 2012 #13
Hugabear Jun 2012 #18
wiggs Jun 2012 #19
L0oniX Jun 2012 #23
DallasNE Jun 2012 #24
former9thward Jun 2012 #27
left on green only Jun 2012 #26
Warren DeMontague Jun 2012 #29
Esra Star Jun 2012 #31
UnrepentantLiberal Jun 2012 #32
left on green only Jun 2012 #44
IDemo Jun 2012 #34
left on green only Jun 2012 #45
livetohike Jun 2012 #39
Gregorian Jun 2012 #48
left on green only Jun 2012 #49
UnrepentantLiberal Jun 2012 #33
Odin2005 Jun 2012 #36
JPK Jun 2012 #40
AngryAmish Jun 2012 #46

Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:03 PM

1. As a child, I was very interested in space exploration. I find it humbling that the spacecrafts that

I learned about when I was 8 have taken this long to reach the edge of our solar system. It's amazing to think about.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:04 PM

3. Back then we could make a spacecraft that lasts 35 years and keeps running

 

Why can't we make a cell phone battery that doesn't croak after two years?

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:05 PM

4. It's sad to think about how much pride and excitement the space program used to inspire. It's like

this country doesn't want to be proud of anything anymore.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:07 PM

6. Gotta let them billionaires keep their tax breaks

Screw human progress!

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:49 PM

14. And let the war machine continue on

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:21 PM

21. To be fair

We're still engaged in some pretty amazing Mars missions.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 08:42 PM

37. There are posters here who like shitting on NASA.

Small-minded people who think it is a waste of money.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 09:31 PM

41. It was indeed exciting growing up with the '60s space program

I was a little too young to remember John Glenn's flight, but I do remember the first space walk and the transition from Gemini to Apollo, signaling that NASA was making its final preparations for a manned moon landing. Breakfast cereals often offered space-related prizes (such as solar system maps which were super cool), and there were quite a few space-related cartoons, movies and television shows to capture the imagination, like Space Ghost, Lost In Space, Star Trek, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:57 AM

47. As I always say to my son, "when I was a kid we were going to the moon. Now, we pretend ..."


"... we can no longer even afford Social Security. Something went horribly wrong. And we voted for it."


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Response to slackmaster (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:13 PM

10. Well to be fair, I'm sure the average transmission for Voyager isn't....

Oh. My. God. Nasa. Did you see those rings Saturn was wearing last night? They sooo clashed with her upper atmosphere and made her look fat! And I can't believe Titan is still hanging around her like such a poser. Jupiter looked at me last night. I think he likes me. Have you heard anything. He's so dreamy. I know he's all gassy and stuff but, he's so buff! Pluto is still hanging out with those minor planets. I'm so glad he isn't hanging around with us anymore. He's so creepy and small and weird with his elliptical orbit thing....Hang on a minute, I have to make sure I point my antenna away from the Oort Cloud. That stuff just makes my dish so filthy....

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Response to Liberal Veteran (Reply #10)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:00 PM

15. Thank you for that very entertaining (and astronomically accurate) post.

You put a smile on my face.

Thanks!

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Response to Liberal Veteran (Reply #10)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:24 PM

25. Very good point

And very fun post! Thanks for the laugh!

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:51 PM

22. Coz those babies had ATOMIC batteries.

 

Or more correcty RTGs, able to provide a steady trickle of power over a period of decades.

A lithium batttery (any rechargable battery) can supply a relatively large amount of power in a short period of time, but then a current must be forced into the depleted battery to recharge it. Every discharge and recharge cycle irreversibly damages the battery. The deeper the dischage, the more damage is done. It's much like bending a piece of metal back and forth until it breaks.

Today even the RTGs aboard the earlier Pioneer probes are fading to the point where they can only provide enough current to run the radio transmitter and not much, if anything else. However, they have lasted as long as they've done, because their "discharge cycle" was one steady entropic decline.



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Response to slackmaster (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:59 PM

30. Um, actually, it's not just "back then". Cough. Spirit. Opportunity. Unless 2004 is "back then".



Designed for a 30 Day Operational Mission, one is still functional after 8 YEARS.

The idea that "we can't build anything anymore" is a lie.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #30)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 08:44 PM

38. Also proves the "Government-done things suck" BS wrong.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #38)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 09:47 PM

43. If JPL ever decides to build cars

I will buy one, no question!

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 08:34 PM

35. You get what you pay for.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:15 PM

11. And god made it all in like a day or something



What's more amazing to me are the billions of people who believe that LOL

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:10 PM

17. It didn't take a day, it took 10^-35 second.

The universe inflated itself out of a singularity in 0.000000000000000000000000000000000001 second.

Give or take a few trillionths.

That is infinitely more miraculous than the idea that God made it in a day.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 09:32 PM

42. I was nine...

And agree

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:03 PM

2. The first message we'll get from extraterrestrial life will be...

 

"Send more Chuck Berry."

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:07 PM

16. or the first might be

We just got rickrolled. Destruction of your planet begins immediately.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #16)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:36 PM

28. That whole "destrution of the earth" thing

goes back to the Right Wing White America fear that's the result of the old "The World Wants What America Has"

You see, the ORIGINAL idea was that the world wanted to be like us because we were an example to the world that it didn't matter what your race or your religion - we showed the world that we could all live together in peace.

Those days are over thanks to the Right Wing doing all they can to divide us.

So the old "The World Wants What America Has" is now redefined to mean they want to TAKE OUR SHIT.

That's why Right Wingers arm themselves and put bars on their windows and obsess with Liberals helping the poor "take from them".

We like to think the Earth is something the aliens would want to take because we don't know of other places. I'm sure if we did, we would like some of those places a lot more. As an example, I'm sure there are tropical worlds with great beaches and the added fun of a lower gravity. Okay, so the colorful "birds" aren't actually birds but who cares?

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:06 PM

5. That is so awesome.

rec

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:10 PM

7. I wonder where they will end up. n/t

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:12 PM

9. Well, if you know your Star Trek...

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:22 PM

12. Vger!

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:11 PM

8. This is the hi mark of man kinds achievements.

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Response to ileus (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:17 PM

20. Man's priorities have changed a lot since Voyagers time

I was reading the articles the other day on the gold records sent with Voyager. What data we felt important to put on them. I think they would be very different if sent today.

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 01:27 PM

13. Go, V-ger!!!! You rock!!!

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:16 PM

18. 18 billion kilometers...and still no sign of the mythical 'compassionate conservative'

Sorry, someone had to go there.

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:16 PM

19. Weird coincidence: The V-ger Star Trek movie was on last night! This is the

episode where Voyager comes back 300 years after launch as part of a smart, living, machine. We watched. Very touching in the context of todays news about leaving the solar system!

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 02:57 PM

23. Veger will return!

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:05 PM

24. By "edge of solar system"

I take that to mean the point where our sun no longer has a gravitational pull, right?

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #24)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:35 PM

27. It is where the solar wind from the Sun slows to basically zero.

Voyager I has been in this area since 2004.

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:30 PM

26. My name is engraved on the communication plaque that is abord the Voyager Spacecafts as being

one of the many, many men and women from planet Earth who together constructed and launched it.

Back in the day, there was great controversy among the scientists and engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena as to whether an X Band and S Band solid state transmitter and receiver would be used to transmit communications between the Voyager spacecraft and Earth, or whether an X Band and an S Band Traveling Wave Tube (TWT) would be used. It was decided to work on developing each of the technologies consecutively, and then make a decision just before launch as to which one to use. I was among the team who was building the TWT's.

In the end it was decided to include one of each type (solid state and TWT) transmitter and receiver (one for back up), instead of two of each of the same type devices, as was originally planned.

Throughout the years that we spent in developing and making our TWT's for the Voyager Mission, the team that was building the solid state devices gave us in the TWT lab a constant barrage of condensation about how archaic and out of date TWT's were, and how the Voyager mission would be much better suited to having all solid state transmitters and receivers aboard.

Shortly after blast off, both the X Band and the S Band solid state devices stopped transmitting and receiving data. The Voyager Spacecraft has been using our TWT's for communication ever since.

Edited for spelling.

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Response to left on green only (Reply #26)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 03:56 PM

29. Wow. That is COOL!

Such amazing machines!

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Response to left on green only (Reply #26)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 05:01 PM

31. Thank you very much for giving us that mission.

I have been a space nut since 1957 and I have followed both voyagers since launch.
Kudos for constructing a transmitter that has worked so well.
Totally freakin unbelievable actually.
Cheers

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Response to left on green only (Reply #26)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 07:14 PM

32. It must amaze you to know that something you helped build

 

is now at the edge of the solar system.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #32)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 11:59 PM

44. The space mission was planned years in advance

There was one point in time when the planets would be in correct alignment to allow the shot to take place. The astronomers had the time of the launch calculated right down to the day and the hour.

Actually, I think I remember being told at one point that if we missed that window, there would be another, but less advantageous window (in terms of being able to accomplish all of the mission's goals) that would appear a short period of time after that, but no one ever talked about it; that is, until about midway along in the development process when we ran into design problems and we did not know if we could have those problems resolved in time.

Our contribution to the mission was so critical that for the length of the entire program, JPL had a fully staffed office of their own organization on premises to make certain that we were contractually providing them with what they needed. My role in my companies' effort was to fabricate and supply JPL with manuals containing "as built" vs "as designed" data, as well as the test results of every test that had been performed along every step of the way during the construction of every TWT that we built for the mission. As I recall, we built 22 X Band TWT's and 22 S Band TWT'S. They were all interchangeable inside the space craft so that right up until the last minute before launch, any of the TWT's could be chosen to be used, depending upon performance decisions that were made on how each part of the space craft was contributing to its' function as a whole.

The entire space mission was an exercise in perfection. Every inch of the development process had to be checked, rechecked and documented, along with an alternate method provided that could be used to eradicate any problem that might be encountered prior to launch. As you might guess, no expense was spared. I can even remember having been told that there were two launch rockets available on the pad at the Cape that could be switched out at the last minute, if need be.

As it was explained to me, no one has ever fully understood the physics behind how a TWT works, and the term "Black Magic" was used on more than one occasion to describe why some of the TWT's we built worked better than others. But they all had one minimum level that they were required to perform at in order to meet the criteria of the space mission.

In mid stream, during the height of the above mentioned performance problems that we encountered, JPL even brought in a world renowned traveling wave physicist to help solve the problem. Anyway, they worked it all out in time, and the rest is now history.

But in response to your statement that I must be amazed to know that something that I helped to build is now at the edge of the solar system, when I think back to how many people gave their all and worked so hard together on that space mission, I am not amazed at all at the success of what we can do together as a human race.

What do you think might have happened if we had used all of that money and effort to alleviate pain and suffering on this planet?



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Response to left on green only (Reply #26)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 08:18 PM

34. Were any electrolytic caps used?

I'd think they would be toast by now.

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Response to IDemo (Reply #34)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:20 AM

45. It is difficult for me to know the answer to that question for the entire space craft

But I can tell you that TWT technology, by itself, does not include any solid state componentry.

I also know that heat as a factor was a major consideration in the planning of the mission. The best of every technology that was known was used in order to insure that everything would perform to the very best level that it could, under every condition.

Beyond that, all areas of the Voyager that contained equipment that was susceptible to being fried by heat were encased in housings that were covered with thin gold foil, so as to obtain the greatest amount of reflection of heat that is possible.

Edited for spelling, my greatest nemesis.

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Response to left on green only (Reply #26)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 09:06 PM

39. Congratulations and Thank You

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Response to left on green only (Reply #26)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:17 PM

48. Do you know Roy Kaylor

He designed a power supply that's in it.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #48)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 09:32 PM

49. The TWTA's (Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers) were designed and manufactured in a different

division of our company, and my contact with them was minimal.

Also, I would like it to be known that the main staging area for the project was originally located at JPL in Pasadena (LA), and then moved to The Cape, as the date for launch grew near. The company that I worked for was located in Northern California (Silicon Valley).

Edited to correct big thumbs.

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 07:17 PM

33. 17 km per second

 

and it's just reaching the edge of the solar system!

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 08:40 PM

36. I can't believe that thing is still functioning.

Ditto with the Mars rovers.

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Mon Jun 18, 2012, 09:09 PM

40. The amazing thing is this craft is entering an area of the solar system whose ....

...population has only recently been theorized. Everything from another asteroid belt to proto planets and comets in this area where Voyager is going. There is research that suggests there may be another planet out there but the light it reflects is so dim it will be hard to find visually. To bad the instruments on Voyager are rudimentary by today's science. Still an exciting and remarkable acomplishment. Fund NASA not the military. When you get down to it, the science is the same just the end purpose is different.

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Response to Adenoid_Hynkel (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 09:05 AM

46. Mankind has now intruded into the areas ruled by the Outer Gods

Their revenge shall render us all gibbering lunatics. Prepare.





















madness...


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