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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Voyager Spacecraft About to Leave Solar System

...and will become for the first man-made object in inter stellar space. It's absolutely amazing that this thing is still chugging along...33 years after its launch form earth...pretty cool to me that it's been doing its job since just a few years before I was born.

Carl Sagan would be proud.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/s...Milky-Way.html

Quote:
The spacecraft is close to leaving the Solar System and into the uncharted territory of the Milky Way after more than three decades in space.

Voyager 1 was launched with its twin, Voyager 2, by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in 1977.

Voyager 1 is travelling at just under 11 miles per second and sending information from nearly 11 billion miles away from the sun.

It is about to become the first man-made object to leave the Solar System, although Nasa expects it to take between several months and years before it completely enters interstellar space. Voyager 2 will follow later.

Ed Stone, the Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said: "Voyager tells us now that we're in a stagnation region in the outermost layer of the bubble around our solar system. Voyager is showing that what is outside is pushing back.

"We shouldn't have long to wait to find out what the space between stars is really like."

The primary mission for the spacecrafts was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn.

After uncovering important findings the mission was extended, with the radio contact with mission control lasting longer than had been expected.

Rob Decker, a Voyager Low-Energy Charged Particle Instrument co-investigator from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said: "We've been using the flow of energetic charged particles at Voyager 1 as a kind of wind sock to estimate the solar wind velocity. We've found that the wind speeds are low in this region and gust erratically. For the first time, the wind even blows back at us. We are evidently traveling in completely new territory. Scientists had suggested previously that there might be a stagnation layer, but we weren't sure it existed until now."

Voyager 1 and 2 both hold a a gold-coated copper phonograph record.

The record contains over 100 photographs of earth, a selection of greetings from languages around the world and a variety of sounds from the Earth.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan wrote in an introduction to a CD version of the record that "billion years from now, when everything on Earth we've ever made has crumbled into dust, when the continents have changed beyond recognition and our species is unimaginably altered or extinct, the Voyager record will speak for us."

The Voyagers have enough power and fuel to operate until at least 2020.

It is predicted by that point that Voyager 1 will be 12.4 billion miles from the Sun, whilst Voyager 2 will be 10.5 billion miles away.

Tom

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 09:36 AM
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So that means its leaving Neptune's orbit.... or Pluto's?

I hope it doesn't hit anything in the Kuiper Belt. If it doesn't the Klingons might get it...



Very cool, though.

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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It's actually well past all of that Chris. I was thinking while I was reading it that it's amazing the thing made it through the outer belt with all of its remnants and debris without getting nailed.

The "solar system" as its limits are defined goes way, way out there.

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 09:46 AM
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The article didn't say what point Voyager passed, just that its beyond the solar system. Actually I do recall reading a few years ago that it passed Neptune's orbit... so I guess its now beyond the Kuiper Belt and really out there.

Its amazing that we are still receiving a signal from that little probe. I wonder what the delay is between sending/receiving the transmission.

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 09:52 AM
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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The article didn't say what point Voyager passed, just that its beyond the solar system. Actually I do recall reading a few years ago that it passed Neptune's orbit... so I guess its now beyond the Kuiper Belt and really out there.

Its amazing that we are still receiving a signal from that little probe. I wonder what the delay is between sending/receiving the transmission.
The article notes that it's 11 billion miles away (moving at 11 miles a second too!, that's 950,400 miles a day!!!!) and radio signals travel at the speed of light, 3x10^8 m/s or 186,000 miles/second....so the delay from the spacecraft is 59,140 seconds, or 16.5 hours, roughly

...and yeah, when they say leaving the solar system, they mean leaving the very outer edge, the absolute furthest area influenced by the sun, showing particles native to our solar system...way, way out there.

To put it in perspective, we are 93 million miles from the sun...the probe is 120 times further away from us than we are from the sun

Ah yes, to utilize those old Astronomy/Physics classes from a former major in school

Tom

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 10:13 AM
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So that means its leaving Neptune's orbit.... or Pluto's?

I hope it doesn't hit anything in the Kuiper Belt. If it doesn't the Klingons might get it...



Very cool, though.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 10:22 AM
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http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/index.html

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Very cool!

Tom

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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 10:48 AM
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If it is 11 billion miles from the sun, how long does it take for a radio/data transmission to reach us?

If you ain't with us, then it's just bad news.
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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If it is 11 billion miles from the sun, how long does it take for a radio/data transmission to reach us?
Already calc'd that!

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The article notes that it's 11 billion miles away (moving at 11 miles a second too!, that's 950,400 miles a day!!!!) and radio signals travel at the speed of light, 3x10^8 m/s or 186,000 miles/second....so the delay from the spacecraft is 59,140 seconds, or 16.5 hours, roughly

Tom

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 11:16 AM
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The article notes that it's 11 billion miles away (moving at 11 miles a second too!, that's 950,400 miles a day!!!!) and radio signals travel at the speed of light, 3x10^8 m/s or 186,000 miles/second....so the delay from the spacecraft is 59,140 seconds, or 16.5 hours, roughly

...and yeah, when they say leaving the solar system, they mean leaving the very outer edge, the absolute furthest area influenced by the sun, showing particles native to our solar system...way, way out there.

To put it in perspective, we are 93 million miles from the sun...the probe is 120 times further away from us than we are from the sun

Ah yes, to utilize those old Astronomy/Physics classes from a former major in school
LOL, thanks Tom. That's a long way out. I know it takes light about 8 minutes to reach us from the sun, and the Mars Rovers transmission delay is between 4 and 21 minutes... 16.5 hours is a VERY long time.

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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:14 PM
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What the hell does that thing run on if it's been going since 1977 and has enough fuel to go until 2020? I want that shit in my truck.
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:22 PM
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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What the hell does that thing run on if it's been going since 1977 and has enough fuel to go until 2020? I want that shit in my truck.
http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecra...craftlife.html

Quote:
The two Voyager spacecraft continue to operate, with some loss in subsystem redundancy, but still capable of returning science data from a full complement of VIM science instruments. Both spacecraft also have adequate electrical power and attitude control propellant to continue operating until around 2025 when the available electrical power will no longer support science instrument operation. At this time science data return and spacecraft operations will end.

Spacecraft electrical power is supplied by Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) that provided approximately 470 w of 30 volt DC power at launch. Due to the natural radioactive decay of the Plutonium fuel source, the electrical energy provided by the RTGs is continually declining. At the beginning of 2008, the power generated by Voyager 1 had dropped to ~ 285 w and to~ 287 w for Voyager 2. Both of these power levels represent better performance than the pre-launch predictions, which included a conservative degradation model for the bi-metallic thermocouples used to convert thermal energy into electrical energy. As the electrical power becomes less and less, power loads on the spacecraft must be turned off in order to avoid having demand exceed supply. As loads are turned off spacecraft capabilities are eliminated. The following table identifies the year when specific capabilities have or will end as a result of the available electrical power limitations.

VOYAGER 1

VOYAGER 2

Power Off Plasma (PLS) Subsystem.


2007-032


PLS Heater


2007-130

Power Off Planetary Radio Astronomy Experiment (PRA)

2008-015

2008-052
Terminate scan platform and Ultra Violet (UV) observations
~EOY 2010

1998-316
Termination of Data Tape Recorder (DTR) operations
~2015*

2007-248**
Termination of gyro operations
~2016

~2015
Initiate instrument power shutdown
~2020***

~2020***
Can no longer power any single instrument
No earlier than 2025

No earlier than 2025

* Limited by ability to capture 1.4 kbps data using a 70m/34m antenna array
In order to maximize the duration of the fields and particles data acquisition capability,

** Voyager 2 DTR operations was no longer needed due to a failure on the high waveform receiver on the Plasma Wave Subsystem (PWS) on June 30th, 2002.

Termination of gyro operations ends the capability to calibrate the magnetometer instrument with magnetometer roll maneuvers (MAGROLs). These maneuvers are performed 6 times a year, on each spacecraft, and consist of a spacecraft attitude maneuver of 10 successive 360 degree turns about the roll axis. Data from a MAGROL allow the spacecraft magnetic field to be determined and subtracted from the magnetometer science data. This is important since the spacecraft magnetic field is larger than the solar magnetic field being measured. The termination of gyro operations also means an end to the attitude maneuvers used to check the combined calibration of the Sun Sensor and the High Gain Antenna pointing direction for maintaining communications with the ground.

*** Science Instruments power shutdown order has not been determined.

The following experiments are expected to be operating by 2020:

Voyager 1: Low-Energy Charged Particles, Cosmic Ray Subsystem, Magnetometer and Plasma Wave Subsystem.

Voyager 2: Low-Energy Charged Particles, Cosmic Ray Subsystem, Magnetometer, Plasma Wave Subsystem and Plasma Subsystem.

Tom

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:31 PM
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Conceptually, there is where its at:



Currently, its being bombarded by a constant burst of cosmic rays that are coming from outer space, which our sun protects us from.

Here's a good read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13715764
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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It just blows my mind that the solar wind, the flow of tiny space stuff, has actually started to fluctuate and flow TOWARDS the spacecraft. Crazy.

Tom

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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:37 PM
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This is truly uncharted territory.
I was reading about the radioactive decay generators couple of years ago. Awesome mechanism. Would love to have coffee with the chap who came up with that idea.
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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It's going to be very interesting to have an actual machine taking measurements of inter-stellar space instead of interpreting data from billions of miles away. Who knows what we'll find.

Tom

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Who knows what we'll find.
it'll be your father.
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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:50 PM
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Who knows what we'll find.
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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 12:50 PM
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This is one of the best threads CLSB has ever produced. I knew some of the stuff about Voyager but not all this detail. Thanks for posting.

And the article posted by Gone says the radio waves take about 16 hours to reach Earth. Just what Tom said with his math.

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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 01:18 PM
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Ah yes, to utilize those old Astronomy/Physics classes from a former major in school
Next time we go drink at Karlovich's I'll invite my buddy Nick out. He's a smart mofo and a total astronomy geek. You two can probably talk about that shit for hours while I sit there and drink beer .
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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Next time we go drink at Karlovich's I'll invite my buddy Nick out. He's a smart mofo and a total astronomy geek. You two can probably talk about that shit for hours while I sit there and drink beer .
We'll just have to make sure it's a night where old dirty Phil is in there, you guys can sit back, shoot Jameson and talk jibberish until 1am!

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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 02:10 PM
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Wait a minute. How do the radio signals travel at the speed of light???

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post #26 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 02:12 PM
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Wait a minute. How do the radio signals travel at the speed of light???
dude, seriously?
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post #27 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Radio waves operate the same as light waves...all part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light is just the portion of the wavelength range that we can see.


Tom

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post #28 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 02:13 PM
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Wait a minute. How do the radio signals travel at the speed of light???
They travel at the speed of light in space where there's no interference to slow them down.
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post #29 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 02:14 PM
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I"m probably having a brain fart, all that old bullshit I learned from RF propogation came into my mind. I think I'm lost LOL

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post #30 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 02:14 PM
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This thread is too technical for me. I'm going back to the random shit thread

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