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Voyager Mission
Old 10-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #1
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Voyager Mission

What were you doing 36 years ago? I don't recall either.

Voyager 1 has entered interstellar space. The NASA spacecraft, which rose from Earth on a September morning 36 years ago, has traveled farther than anyone, or anything, in history. more
I vaguely recall the Golden Record and that Carl Sagan was involved. But not much more. Why is it that this monumental human endeavor has been ignored by me?

The primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there -- such as active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io and intricacies of Saturn's rings -- the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The adventurers' current mission, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), will explore the outermost edge of the Sun's domain.
Voyager - The Interstellar Mission

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Old 10-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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I was in Florida, studying nuclear power plant theory. I did get out to the coast to see both launches.

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Old 10-24-2013, 12:47 PM   #3
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Voyager, it is now out of this world.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:52 PM   #4
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
What were you doing 36 years ago? I don't recall either.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of goundbreaking scientific breakthroughs, but I do have very distinct memories of both Voyager missions. I was most impressed by the photos of active volcanos on Io and the "braided" rings of Saturn. From Voyager II I remember the beautiful shade of blue in the pictures of Neptune.

I understand that there will be a similar flyby of Pluto in 2015. With luck we will get some equally spectacular photos from it.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:51 PM   #6
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finishing OCS in Newport, getting ready to go to Florida to study nuclear power plant theory.:-)
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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I was a plebe at the U.S. Naval Academy, and I'm certain I was getting yelled at. Four years after that, I was in FL studying nuclear power plant theory.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:10 PM   #8
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The Voyager missions are so amazing. Think about sending something up into space in 1977, and 36 years later it is still operational in a harsh environment, and sending data back to earth, and accepting commands from earth.

It was only recently that I studied this. I was vaguely aware that it was nuclear powered. It would be so far from the sun, solar panels wouldn't cut it. What I didn't realize before then, was that this isn't some fancy complicated nuclear reactor - it is 'simply' a lump of hot radioactive material that gives off heat as it decays (apologies to the nuclear engineers on the forum for this over-simplification). No controls, just a shielded lump of 'stuff'.

It is wrapped in thermo-couples - simple junctions of dissimilar metals that provide electrical power when heat is applied. Inefficient, but simple and reliable. The radioactive material gives off less heat as time goes by, and the thermo-couples become less efficient. So power decays, and they have shut down some systems over the years, but some are still active. This is mind-boggling to me. You have just two shots at this, and they both are still working 36 years later. How can you plan for that? No repairman to call, no oil changes, nada. And using 1970's technology.

IIRC, it takes about a day to send a command, have it processed and an acknowledgement sent back to Earth. With that sort of latency, would you measure it in nano-bits-per-second?

Awe inspiring.


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