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NASA Space

Voyager Set To Enter Interstellar Space 362

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-you're-still-in-my-comfort-zone dept.
Phoghat writes "More than 30 years after they were launched, NASA's two Voyager probes have traveled to the edge of the solar system and are on the doorstep of interstellar space. Today, April 28, 2011, NASA held a live briefing to reflect on what the Voyager mission has accomplished — and to preview what lies ahead as the probes prepare to enter the realm of the Milky Way itself."
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Voyager Set To Enter Interstellar Space

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  • Let me say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by milbournosphere (1273186) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @08:42PM (#35970714)
    Congratulations to the engineers working on the original project all those years ago. I couldn't fathom designing something like this with the toolset they had 30+ years ago. Props to them for creating a set of probes that are still relevant 30 years after their launch.
  • Re:Let me say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @08:57PM (#35970782) Homepage

    An example of reliable code and engineering.

    It is a shame that programmers and engineers do not design and code their products so that they will be reliable.

    How many times did they have to reboot Voyager?

  • Re:Let me say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pseudonym Authority (1591027) <SammyKake@gmaTEAil.com minus caffeine> on Thursday April 28, 2011 @08:59PM (#35970796)
    It may have been a less advanced toolset, but the mindset back them was what really made it work. Back then, anything was possible, even expensive research unlikely to have any direct benifits. Now? If it isn't going to make a profit next month, trash it. Fuck the modern era. We did more with slide rules and determination than we do now with modern technology.
  • Re:Let me say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @09:12PM (#35970880) Journal

    Does every conversation on slashdot have to turn into a tirade about how stupid and frustrating and awful and shoddy and worthless and disappointing and shitty and aggravating and horrible windows is? We know already! It's also despicable and unreliable and saddening and ugly and untrustworthy and pernicious and inadequate and etc etc etc...

    Take your blinkers off. It's not just Windows.

  • Re:Beautiful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FlyingGuy (989135) <flyingguyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 28, 2011 @09:20PM (#35970922)

    Best part is that if the tube cracks because of some thermal stress from years of heat cycles... Still in a vacuum! bonus

  • Re:Let me say (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2011 @09:22PM (#35970934)

    And as we all know, spice is an important part of space travel.

  • Re:not yet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:00PM (#35971110)

    Every two years or so Voyager \d crosses the (heliosheath | heliopause | bow shock | edge of the cosmic wind | edge of the Oort cloud | ... ) and this arbitrary boundary is used as a pretext to run off a press release.

  • Re:How long till (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:28PM (#35971274)
    Would the same people also have ridiculously optimistic ideas about our capabilities in space, like about colonies on the Moon and Mars? And equally delusional beliefs about the human race "needing to get off this mud ball!" (all very earnest, almost religious-like), asteroid mining and space-based solar?

    If so, they are Space Nutters. The best thing you can do for them is patiently try to educate them. Unless you're dealing with a Level-III Space Nutter, the kind that thinks we invented the transistor to go to the Moon and we only have computers because of Apollo, then just go drink a gin tonic and forget about it.

  • Re:Let me say (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dissy (172727) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:34PM (#35971316)

    It is a shame that programmers and engineers do not design and code their products so that they will be reliable.

    But on the other hand, I can't say I am willing to pay $2 million for a copy of Windows, which is likely the cost per user if it really was designed by the same people and to the same standards as the Voyager code.

    It's not cheap to design and develop bug free code. NASA had some very smart people working on these problems for quite some time.

    Granted, there are plenty of areas outside of commercial software like Word, where reliability is not just important but critical. While a good amount is designed well and quite reliable, I'll admit it is not as often as it really should be. The insanely huge cost is justified.

  • Re:Let me say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:34PM (#35971318)

    "It is a shame that programmers and engineers do not design and code their products so that they will be reliable."

    Speak for yourself.

    Some of us take pride in our work and write fast, reliable software that runs on servers for multiple years without interference.

  • Re:Let me say (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @10:53PM (#35971402)

    Of course they still work, both of those devices are infinitely simpler than a DVD player. Niether are a testament to excellent engineering.

    That, however, was not the question. I'll rephrase it if it helps: If a company would guarantee that a DVD (or even Blu Ray) player would last 20 years, what's the maximum you would pay?

  • Re:Let me say (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday April 29, 2011 @12:12AM (#35971752)

    It is called planned obsolescence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence [wikipedia.org]

    It's hard to lay the blame on manufacturers when people flock to the newest upgrade. Which.... gets back to my question: How much would you actually pay to get a 20-year DVD player? I bet the answer is none and the reason for that is you're thinking of going Blu-Ray or streaming or whatever new whiz-bang thing comes along.

    The real word you're looking for is 'consumerism'.

  • Re:Let me say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Friday April 29, 2011 @02:05AM (#35972136) Journal

    You paid the equivalent of $700 for that setup. Did you pay that for your current media or audio center? People just barely pay that for a game console with an expected life of less-than-5 years.

    Yes, for the whole setup. A full stereo, not just a CD player. That included a tuner, turntable, 2 speakers, an amp, and control panels including an equalizer. The CD player was probably worth $200-$250 of that $700. And you would pay that today for a good Blu-ray player. Blu-ray now is at about the same point that CDs were when I bought in.

    So your quote of $1000 for a DVD player is a huge and ridiculous exaggeration. Quality control does not increase price by 2 orders of magnitude, and old tech gets cheaper as factories tool up and familiarity is gained with the ins and outs of the format.

    And I wasn't the only person that bought it.

    True. They would not have become ubiquitous otherwise. However, that market really wasn't sustainable, was it? Not in light of how many more people paid for cheaper versions of it. As time goes by, the desire to upgrade these components will go up as new fancy ways to use digital processors become fashionable. Again, this is the market dictating this, not the manufacturers. If it were the latter, we'd still have all those little repair shops all over the place like we did in the 80's.

    The market is quite sustainable. People haven't stopped buying gadgets. More people are able to afford them etc.

    The reason that you had little repair shops all over the place was that it cost more to replace than to fix. One reason for that was that quality control hadn't been thrown out the window. Today a manufacturer will put out shoddy rubbish to save $2 a unit. Most customers would pay an extra $2 for something that worked properly and lasted so blaming the consumer is just ridiculous misdirection. The blame lies squarely with manufacturers who refuse to back the quality of their products and instead compete on price point. The first few shoddy products ruin that manufacturer's reputation and they find they can no longer compete on quality.

  • Re:Let me say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IntentionalStance (1197099) on Friday April 29, 2011 @02:42AM (#35972254)

    It may have been a less advanced toolset, but the mindset back them was what really made it work. Back then, anything was possible, even expensive research unlikely to have any direct benifits. Now? If it isn't going to make a profit next month, trash it. Fuck the modern era. We did more with slide rules and determination than we do now with modern technology.

    Nope re the mindset back then. I was coding for living back then and the ratio of good developers to bad developers is still pretty much the same now. Go and read the Mythical Man Month. What's sad is not that 'we were better at this stuff in the good old days' but that we, as an industry, haven't learned how to do things better having had 30 years of practice.

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