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View Full Version : Voyager 1 set to leave the Solar system



wierdscience
09-05-2012, 10:23 PM
Saw this article and knew the event had to be getting close.Today is the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_NASA_VOYAGER_AT_35?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-09-04-05-55-45

Traveling at 38,200mph over 120 AU from the Earth with a whopping 470watts of power and it is still able to send signals home.

Yet we have trouble getting a message 25 feet from a drive up speaker at McDonalds to the window:D

lakeside53
09-05-2012, 10:32 PM
I thought the Klingons blasted it for gunnery practise. Sure I saw that somewhere....

Evan
09-05-2012, 11:10 PM
"Leaving the solar system" is a very poorly defined concept. There idea that a specific time can be designated for the event is silly. At some point the influence of the solar wind and presumably the gravity of the sun is overwhelmed (extreme overstatement alert) by the sum total of everything else out there. That isn't a hard drawn border or even a very diffuse one. It will take some time before they are even certain that the local environment has changed at all.

The only reason we can still pick up the signals is due to the incremental improvements in receiving hardware. The SNAP RTG will last a lot more years so we will probably be able to stay in contact for quite a while longer. It will take twice as long as it has been up there for the power to decrease by half.

dp
09-05-2012, 11:37 PM
The SNAP RTG will last a lot more years so we will probably be able to stay in contact for quite a while longer. It will take twice as long as it has been up there for the power to decrease by half.

And most of the power being generated is still radiated to space as waste. I'd like to have one of those at my house. Good thing they didn't need to use modern solder back then. That the electronic components still function after all this time given the environment is astonishing, in fact. Who made their chemical based capacitors? :)

wierdscience
09-06-2012, 12:35 AM
"Leaving the solar system" is a very poorly defined concept. There idea that a specific time can be designated for the event is silly. At some point the influence of the solar wind and presumably the gravity of the sun is overwhelmed (extreme overstatement alert) by the sum total of everything else out there. That isn't a hard drawn border or even a very diffuse one. It will take some time before they are even certain that the local environment has changed at all.

The only reason we can still pick up the signals is due to the incremental improvements in receiving hardware. The SNAP RTG will last a lot more years so we will probably be able to stay in contact for quite a while longer. It will take twice as long as it has been up there for the power to decrease by half.

Right,I had read somewhere last week that the actual "official" edge of the SS was something like 7-15 AU wide and regions like the Oort cloud were further out still.There was some argument whether or not the Interstellar medium begins just outside the Heliosphere or on the far side of the Oort cloud.

Either way it's an amazing achievement that such a small craft could travel that far especially given the amount of data it had already sent back about the gas giants.I think it's safe to say we got our moneys worth.

macona
09-06-2012, 02:53 AM
Who made their chemical based capacitors? :)

I am willing to bet everything in there is tantalum.

Evan
09-06-2012, 03:19 AM
And most of the power being generated is still radiated to space as waste. I'd like to have one of those at my house.

Yep. In fact, the unit on the MSL (Curiosity) emits about 2000 watts of heat and generates about 125 watts of electricity. That's all and it has to run everything. 12 volts at about 10 amps or equivalent. The unit will still put out about 100 watts 14 years from now though. The Pu238 slugs run at a dull red heat. The "waste" heat isn't wasted, it is used to keep the systems in the "warm box" warm so it can run during winter. Also, the rover can in theory do up to 2 kilometres per day although that won't be happening.

The driving system really is autonomous. They tell it where to go and it finds its way there while avoiding hazards as it finds them. It has wheel slip sensors to tell if it is in danger of getting stuck and an optical odometer that relies on viewing its tracks in the sand. The wheels imprint "JPL" in morse code in the sand and the distance between the dashes is used to determine the wheel slip.


Good thing they didn't need to use modern solder back then.

Lead solder is still permitted for critical hardware.

Grind Hard
09-06-2012, 09:44 AM
I thought the Klingons blasted it for gunnery practise. Sure I saw that somewhere....

I'm pretty sure that was a Pioneer probe.

Confirmed. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Pioneer_10

Voyager "V'Ger" was the one that returned in Star Trek The Motion Picture seeking it's creator.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Voyager_6


My nerd-level... is OVER 9,000. :cool:

daryl bane
09-06-2012, 10:42 AM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/brufsupbane/images.jpg

Sorry couldn't resist

flathead4
09-06-2012, 11:21 AM
Next stop Proxima Centauri! Just 74,000+ years away.

Grind Hard
09-06-2012, 12:43 PM
Just a bit off. Proxima Centauri is just over four light-years away. :D

flathead4
09-06-2012, 01:10 PM
Just a bit off. Proxima Centauri is just over four light-years away.

But Voyager is only traveling at 35,791 mph or about .00005 of light speed. Where's a good Warp drive when you need it?

Tom

Grind Hard
09-06-2012, 01:55 PM
Well if we go by the history established by Star Trek, we have to go through a devastating nuclear war, and someone has to engineer it from the shell and warhead of a discarded nuclear missile.

Not far off according to the pretend timeline. :P

Evan
09-06-2012, 05:26 PM
There is a way to send a probe to Proxima Centauri with 40 years or so. Look up Starwisp (http://path-2.narod.ru/design/base_e/starwisp.pdf)