OT: Nasa's Voyager 1 in 'cosmic purgatory' on verge of entering Milky Way



At HHC we were told that the Saturn processor was named as such because Voyager was on it's was to Saturn.

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

I'll wager that all my Voyagers (10C-16C, sans 11C) will still be going strong by 2020.

It'll be interesting to see which Voyager line lasts longer. The original or the 12C.



About "entering the Milky Way", a couple' observations:

  1. Both Voyagers, as well as our whole planet, inhabitants,and machines, already are in the Milky Way, i.e., our very own galaxy, so they can hardly be "entering" it. As for "exiting" it, that would be indeed groundbreaking news.

  2. Much has been said about the Voyagers being on the verge of "leaving the solar system" and such, and while that's technically correct for a certain definition of the limits of the solar system let's not forget that once they do they will still be about 15 or 20 light-hours from the Sun but about 4 light-years from the nearest star or solar system, i.e., not that far from home at all. Plotted to scale on a regular sheet of paper their locations would still fall right on top of the Sun's.

Best regards from V.


Just a reporter's attempt at a catchy headline ;-)

NASA's Voyager site puts it better: heading for "interstellar space", which I assume translates to "that area of space outside any noticeable influence1 of stars (e.g. our own sun)"

1 However "noticeable influence" may be defined ;-).


Just a reporter's attempt at a catchy headline ;-)

NASA's Voyager site puts it better: heading for "interstellar space", which I assume translates to "that area of space outside any noticeable influence1 of stars (e.g. our own sun)"

1 However "noticeable influence" may be defined ;-).

Hehe, true.

I wonder if we'll ever retrieve them in the future, to be displayed at the Smithsonian's or some other museum.

That would preclude they eventually being found and examined by aliens, which would actually be positive if only to avoid embarrasment at aliens writhing their gonopods in stupor when finding a large analog record which must be physically made to slowly rotate while scratching its surface with a needle (!!) in order to retrieve meager amounts of info stored there, instead of a small non-mechanical chip stuffed with large amounts of electronically-retrievable digital data.

How uncannily primitive civilization ! ... XD

Best regards from V.



How uncannily primitive civilization ! ... XD

Well... I know this is all "tongue-in-cheek" but, there are a few points:

- I would suppose that even the most advanced (for us) digital chip would still be considered way primitive by the aliens;

- Digital would be much more difficult to "extract information" from - though I suppose they would figure out the pinouts and communications protocol of the chip;

- The analog record is MUCH more durable! Ad damage-resistant. What if a the aliens' idea of a safe, low-voltage battery, is 5000 VDC?

- The more primitive the technology, the more durable and easy to fix it is - consider: an abacus, a Curta, an HP-35, an iPod. Which would last more? Which would be easiest to figure out and eventually to fix?




Assuming aliens knew about propagation of sound through a medium, they would probably recognize the grooves in a "vinyl" (It's actually titanium or something) disk as being an analog of said propagation. Once that was understood, "reading" the information wouldn't necessarily have to involve needles or scratching of any sort. Figuring out the function of a digital memory might take them a couple of, um, heartbeats longer.


The disk is actually made of gold plated copper with an aluminum cover. The obverse of the disk contains pictographic hints about how to read the contents. More fun facts here.


Let's hope it lands on a salty planet. That way the aliens won't ever be able to use it to find us.


He Valentin:

Don't spoil their fun! ;-)


The Telegraph article:

It [Voyager] 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.

Wikipedia on the Voyager Golden Record:

As of 2008, the two Voyager spacecraft became the third and fourth human artifacts to escape entirely from the solar system.

Gotta love the internets..


The Telegraph article:

Gotta love the internets..


Pioneer 10 and 11 are out there too.

Edit: Pioneer 10's distance from the sun was was exceeded by Voyager 1 in 1998. Assuming Pioneer 11 isn't moving faster than its sister, that would mean the Telegraph article is correct.

Edited: 9 Dec 2011, 10:30 p.m.

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