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NASA Space Science

Voyager 1 Exits Our Solar System 341

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-long-farewell-auf-wiedersehen-goodbye dept.
eldavojohn writes "The first man-made craft to do so is now entering a 'cosmic purgatory' between solar systems and entering an interstellar space of the Milky Way Galaxy. With much anticipation, Voyager 1 is now 'in a stagnation region in the outermost layer of the bubble around our solar system. Voyager is showing that what is outside is pushing back.' After three decades the spacecraft is still operating and apparently has enough power and fuel to continue to do so until 2020. The first big piece of news? 'We've been using the flow of energetic charged particles at Voyager 1 as a kind of wind sock to estimate the solar wind velocity. We've found that the wind speeds are low in this region and gust erratically. For the first time, the wind even blows back at us. We are evidently traveling in completely new territory. Scientists had suggested previously that there might be a stagnation layer, but we weren't sure it existed until now.' This process could take months to years to completely leave the outer shell but already scientists are receiving valuable information."
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Voyager 1 Exits Our Solar System

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  • 11 Billion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyachallenge (2521604) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @05:50PM (#38296566)

    Voyager 1 is travelling at just under 11 miles per second and sending information from nearly 11 billion miles away from the sun.

    This reminds me of just how big space is. What absurd distances we're talking about now. I can't be but at awe and terror when I think of the stars.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by travisco_nabisco (817002) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @05:52PM (#38296604)
    I too am completely amazed that the Voyager is still sending back useful data after all these years.

    Sometimes I wonder how much further ahead humanity would be if we built everything with the need to have it last decades before becoming nonfunctional, then I realize that with the rate technology has advanced, that is just not possible. Not to mention that we would have a totally different world economy if people weren't continually replacing perfectly functional items, from clothing to electronics to vehicles. So much of the global economy is dependent on people buying more things.
  • Re:11 Billion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:14PM (#38296866) Journal
    11 billion miles sounds like a long way when phrased like that. It doesn't sound so far when you write it as 16.4 light-hours, and remember that the nearest star is about 4.35 light years away. Or, to put it another way, it's travelled 0.043% of the distance from here to Alpha Centauri and is the furthest man-made object away from us. That really puts into perspective how much further (or, rather, faster) we have to go for interstellar space travel to be possible.
  • by decora (1710862) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:27PM (#38296992) Journal

    lets face facts. they only outsourced for two main reasons.

    number 1, to avoid the EPA

    number 2, to avoid labor unions

    all of that 'classic american technology' was built with union hands and by people paying union dues. they went on something called a 'strike' once in a while, too. fascinating concept - you stop working in order to improve conditions and pressure employers.

  • by decora (1710862) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:29PM (#38297012) Journal

    otherwise, the only thing we would ever spend money on is bailing out big corporations and bombing people.

  • by Sperbels (1008585) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:33PM (#38297056)
    The bombing people part involves paying big corporations for the bombs (and the vehicles used to deliver them) with lots of tax payer money anyway, so that's sort of a bail out too.
  • by zill (1690130) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:35PM (#38297088)

    number 2, to avoid labor unions

    While I share your distaste of unions, there's no really way to avoid them in a democratic society. Democracy require the freedom of association, which will inevitability lead to unions if a majority of your workers are dissatisfied enough.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:38PM (#38297128)

    It is just freaking amazing that things electronics can still work after being exposed to such an environment for so long. Good job Voyager and good job old school NASA. Just don't come back home in a few hundred years with a chip on your shoulder!

    Well if you want to put the situation into perspective, Voyager one has been going on for 34 years and has YET to leave the solar system. Another 10 years and it will find itself on the threshold of interstellar space. And then no more power it will go dead. Think about it, 47 years in space and it will barely have reached the begining of interstellar space. Half the lifetime of a human being (more or less) and our fastest spacecraft is still right by our home. If this doesn't drive home just how far we are from really reaching into space nothing will.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eriks (31863) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:44PM (#38297182) Homepage

    Not to mention that we would have a totally different world economy if people weren't continually replacing perfectly functional items, from clothing to electronics to vehicles.

    Totally new world economy not based on consuming breakable crap, please! I'd like one.

    Well designed, well-engineered products, that last, would be more "expensive", but in the long run, humanity and the planet will be better off when we finally switch over to a less wasteful system.

    Fortunately we do have examples (like the Voyager probes) of good engineering, not that our washing machines and TVs need to be *quite* that well-engineered, but still, there's a lot of room for improvement.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:51PM (#38297274)

    Then a company should be able to not hire someone if they belong to a union, as the company's (owner's) right, correct?

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keytoe (91531) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:59PM (#38297364) Homepage

    not that our washing machines and TVs need to be *quite* that well-engineered, but still, there's a lot of room for improvement.

    This level of quality exists for almost anything you would care to buy. These items costs a bit more and they don't carry them at Walmart, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:02PM (#38297404) Journal
    But it's in a vacuum already. So all you need to do is stick a filament, an emitter, grid, etc onto the craft and away you go. You don't actually need the tube part. That just holds out the atmosphere.
  • by zixxt (1547061) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:08PM (#38297500)

    You people will never realize that American-manufactured goods were once the best there were. They were durable, they actually weren't that expensive, and you could trust them.

    Any facts or figures to back up this hyperbole of a statement ?

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:13PM (#38297554)

    Will you really end up with 0 employees?

    Why aren't there software engineer unions? (I've seen that mentioned here before.)

    Also, aren't various companies anti-union in general? I think Walmart is one example (and yes, I know a lot of people hate them). Walmart does not seem to be in any danger of losing employees.

  • by Third Position (1725934) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:19PM (#38297632)

    Are you a communist?

    He's a realist. I've still got an HP 11C (made in the USA), bought it almost 30 years ago.
    Its still going strong and boy do the batteries last. A pair of button batteries could last for 10/15 years of use. But that was a time when American industries acutally produced things, and management was not ruled by a band of legalised criminals.

    While the rest of what you say might be true, management has *always* been ruled by a band of legalised criminals. Globalization has merely provided them with the means to dare what they wouldn't have gotten away with before.

  • by drnb (2434720) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:31PM (#38297794)

    lets face facts. they only outsourced for two main reasons.

    number 1, to avoid the EPA

    number 2, to avoid labor unions

    all of that 'classic american technology' was built with union hands and by people paying union dues. they went on something called a 'strike' once in a while, too. fascinating concept - you stop working in order to improve conditions and pressure employers.

    You are not facing facts. The fact is that consumers killed US manufacturing. Consumers selected goods based on one and only one criteria: retail price. When presented with a high quality US made product and a less expensive foreign made product the US consumers overwhelmingly chose the foreign made good. It wasn't the CEOs, the 1%, etc. The 99% did it to themselves. Corporations don't care where things are made, only that they sell, and consumers chose what sells and what does not. Corporate greed can lead to domestic manufacture just as easily as it can lead to foreign manufacture, it just depends on US consumers favoring domestic production over retail price. Assuming you are a US citizen and you need a flashlight for your car, there is a $20 US made Maglite next to a $7 chinese made brand, what do you chose? What does your choice tell the Maglite CEO to do?

    Unions knew this too. There was no shortage of "Save a Job, Buy American" bumper stickers in the 1970s. US Consumers didn't care, a classic example of tragedy of the commons.

    Fortunately the internet has made it easier to find US made goods than one might expect by browsing local brick and mortar establishments.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grouchomarxist (127479) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:33PM (#38297808)

    For some products this makes sense, but when it comes to things that change rapidly, like technology, you're making a trade-off between investing vs. features. If I choose a long lasting computer now I may miss out on features that are developed later.

    With clothes there are probably trade offs regarding fashion, but then this is /.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:40PM (#38297886)

    Then by that logic, products made by American companies in other countries should count as "American made".

  • Re:Amazing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:05PM (#38298082)

    Yes. And that is the problem with the economy. When you can't muster the resources to keep "growing" as you blatantly can't on a finite planet, then you go into a world credit crisis because the whole thing is a house of cards built on the premise of waste. Waster of resources, waste of money. And economists call it "economy". If they knew anything about economy they would hire an ecologist to fix their basic theories. Boom and bust is a sign of a broken ecosystem, yet we're to believe that's how an economy should run (you can't get anything else with a "continuous growth" paradigm. It's nothing but a pyramid scheme on a grand scale.) Definitely, things should be built to last. Not building them to last is bad for the economy however it may look on the short term which sadly is all economists and policy makers look at to make nation shaping decisions.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:15PM (#38298188)

    not that our washing machines and TVs need to be *quite* that well-engineered, but still, there's a lot of room for improvement.

    This level of quality exists for almost anything you would care to buy. These items costs a bit more and they don't carry them at Walmart, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

    Except that 2 decades ago you could still find well engineered products that lasted that the middle class could afford to buy. Today you either have cheap crap from Walmart, or high end stuff. Whats missing is the whole middle class thing, where you could find quality at an acceptable price.
    Not today unfortunately.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @09:07PM (#38298588)

    That's funny, two decades ago people were saying exactly what you're saying now.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @10:29PM (#38299142) Journal

    But would they be better in the long run or worse? My CRT monitors worked just fine, just got finished replacing the last 2 in the family with 20 inch LCDs i got cheap on cyber Monday. while i will give those CRTs away rather than have them end up in the dump the amount of power they sucked was just unreal compared to the energy star LCDs i picked up, i could have easily run 5 monitors in the place of a single one of those CRTs and still had power left over.

    The problem with making things last is the flip side and that's the fact that each generation the power usage gets MUCH better. My P4 mobile laptop is still running to this day with a customer but at its best it would suck a battery dry in 2 hours flat and cranked out the heat, while my new Zacate netbook runs 6 hours plus on a battery a hell of a lot smaller and plugged in it takes a max 18w under heavy load, most of the time less than 8 I'd say.

    so do we REALLY want people keeping the old tech and draining that much more power, or is it better to have them get something new that uses much less? i'm not an economics guy so i don't know, i just know that the electric bill at my family's house dropped like mad without having those CRTs constantly pulling juice. the bill went down so much that they actually sent someone out to check the meter to make sure we hadn't figured out a way to scam them!

  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @10:31PM (#38299158)

    My mom is still using a Mitsubishi television she bought in 1983.

    Yeah really, my grandmother used the same damn toaster she bought in the early 60's almost every single day up until the day she died 5 years ago. Her Mr. Coffee was at least 25 years old as well, and her microwave, despite being so old as to have oven style knob controls, worked even better than any microwave I've ever bought.

    Today you need to order commercial-grade appliances from European master craftsmen for thousands of dollars to get the same level of quality my grandmother got on sale at Sears 30+ years ago on her husband's truck driver salary. Pretty sad...

  • by drnb (2434720) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @01:04AM (#38299994)

    "The fact is that consumers killed US manufacturing" The US is still ranked the #1 manufacturer in the world.

    Stats that make that claim usually compare dollar amounts. So extremely high priced products like jet liners, heavy caterpillar tractors, etc distort the numbers and do not reflect huge number of manufacturing jobs that have been exported. These products merely represent the heavy high tech manufacturing which is the last to go and is currently targeted for the next round of job exporting.

    These dollar based stats also show that we are just about to fall from that #1 position. You should look at the historical trend and not look at the current stat out of context.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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