Voyager Finally Does It.

mosaix

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The Voyager spacecraft has finally left the solar system.

BBC News - Voyager probe 'leaves Solar System'

Scientists say the probe's instruments indicate it has moved beyond the bubble of hot gas from our Sun and is now moving in the space between the stars.

What an achievement. It was launched in 1977 and is transmitting from 12 billion miles away using a 20 watt transmitter! Receiving the signal at all is an amazing feat of science.

The plutonium power source will fail in about ten years and then the craft will go silent. :(
 

Foxbat

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This is indeed a great achievement (especially for those of us that really wish to be out there....hell...I've even been wondering how I could finance a trip on Virgin Galactic...but still no idea on where to get that kind of money).

I think, however, this moment will go almost unnoticed by the general population. :(
 

Ursa major

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I assume the continued receipt of a signal from Voyager-1 shows the progress we've made in detecting weak signals.




As an aside: It seems that "hot" has joined "theory" as a word that means something different to scientists and the general public.
 

thaddeus6th

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Boneman, we all live in hope that, when it does return, it doesn't bring a terrible film with it.
 

thaddeus6th

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But what's worse: assimilation or Star Trek: The Motion Picture?
 

Gordian Knot

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Truly exciting stuff! To actually be able to study interstellar space for real for the first time. Cannot wait to hear what Voyager has to tell us!
 

Mirannan

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Doesn't it return in a century or two, to be met by The Enterprise?;) Only then, it's known as V'ger, because apparently, incredibly advanced civilisations are incapable of wiping off dust...

Well, although 23rd century Earth isn't as advanced as some in StarTrek, apparently the Feds have lost the advanced technologies known as seatbelts and circuit breakers. :p

Also, 24th century Federation has a really terrible data system. They seem to completely lose newly discovered technologies within weeks. :rolleyes:
 

J-Sun

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To add to that excellent article, here's another brief writeup exulting that We are a Starfaring Species and a NASA writeup.

My only problem is that the limits of the solar system and interstellar space are not a static line but a region in flux and we've had debates like this before but the data really seems to indicate that we're really somewhere new at the moment and are learning new things and can call this another "giant leap for mankind", so I think it's pretty exciting. It's not human beings on a worldship that would prolong our species' survival, but it's still quite an accomplishment.
 

Vertigo

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Agreed I think this is a monentous occasion that has not been given the attention it really deserves. All credit to all the folks involved in its construction!
 

Gordian Knot

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This story has been bothering me since it was first reported, and I finally took the effort to do some research.

Voyager cannot have left the solar system as it has just cleared the Kuiper Belt and the Heliopause. But the Oort cloud is also part of our solar system and is massively further away. The final reach of our star's gravitational pull is the outer boundary of the Oort Cloud, which is more than a light year away from the sun!

It will take Voyager another 30 years to reach the Oort Cloud, and something like another 30,000 years to finally get beyond it. Which is, I believe, a third of the way to Proxima Centauri! Our nearest stellar neighbor.

The confusion is that though the Oort Cloud is considered as part of the solar system, it is also considered to be in interstellar space. The answer, again to my understanding, is that within the heliopause the solar wind is from our sun. Past the heliopause the stellar wind dominates.

So Voyager has passed into interstellar space, but it has not left the solar system yet.
 

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