Voyager 1 Has it reached the final frontier?

 

 

Space probe Voyager 1 was launched on Monday, September 5th, 1977 (13, 092 days ago) from Cape Canaveral aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket. It accomplished its mission in 1980 after finishing the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn.

 

After 35 years wandering in space, where the hell is Voyager 1? Well, the short answer is nobody knows for sure, however the probe is operational and responding to commands broadcast from Earth, according to NASA. It is escaping the solar system and will enter interstellar space (the physical space within the galaxy not occupied by stars or their planetary systems) in a date yet to be determined.

 

“Where nothing from Earth has flown before”

 

Scientists believe Voyager 1 and its twin spacecraft are currently farther away from Earth and the Sun than the dwarf planet Pluto in a region known as Heliosheath “the uttermost layer of the heliosphere”.

 

Image credit: NASA.
Image credit: NASA.

 

Quentin Cooper (BBC) explains why it is important to determine the location of Voyager 1:

 

If Voyager 1 does make it beyond the sun’s influence and out into interplanetary space, it will be not just the first spacecraft but the first artefact of our species to do so: a potential major step on the path to humankind becoming more than a local phenomenon. That was part of Voyager’s mission from the start. As well as sending back data it was designed to send out a message, to act as a cosmic calling card: Quentin Cooper.

 

Cooper refers also to the “Golden Record” a gold-plated copper disk aboard the probe, featuring sounds and images from Earth. The music selection includes Beethoven’s fifth symphony, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode, among others. The “Golden Record” also contains a bunch of scientific information and diagrams useful for any species trying to destroy human life as we know it.

 

Even though the exact location of Voyager 1 is unknown, it is fun to know a sort of “time capsule” of mankind is drifting away, waiting to be retrieved by some intelligent life form… or by humans in a distant future.

 

Image credit: NASA.
Image credit: NASA.

July 10th, 2013.

TRC

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