Monday, October 8, 2012

Voyager1 has left the Solar System!

Start Trek fans know it as V ger, but to the rest of us, its just plain old Voyager 1.  It is the space craft that we sent off on an adventure in 1977.  Since then it has sent back incredible pictures and data from Jupiter and Saturn.  People haven't talked about it much, but it has continued to hurl itself ever outward on its lonely journey.  So why do I bring this up now?  You'll have to read on to find out.

Voyager's view of Jupiter as it flew by
Saturn as captured by Voyager

NASA has been tracking this solo sojourner on its trek this entire time.  That is amazing in itself since it has only a tiny little radio transmitter only capable of a few watts transmission.  It is still producing a signal that we can detect, even though it is 1,132,540,000 miles away.  The big news is that last month, it saw a significant drop in the amount of particles (mostly protons) hitting it.  This is most likely a sign that it has left our solar system entirely and is now in interstellar space!  What will we learn about what is out there?  Who knows?  It sure must be lonely though...
Congratulations Voyager 1!  We haven't forgotten you.  We are still listening, and we are proud of you.  Heck, I'm pretty proud of us humans too for being able to toss a ball of metal out that far and continue to track it.  Pretty impressive.

via Scientific American

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