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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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  • Re:This news again? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:55PM (#38296648)

    Usually these stories get trotted out right around budget cutting time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @06:57PM (#38296668)

    It's too bad so many people here were born or grew up after 1990, at which point most American industry had been decimated and sent over to third-world shit heaps like China, India, and Mexico.

    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.

    Then globalization and so-called "free trade" happened to ruin all of that. Products that you could once buy from an American manufacturer and you'd know they'd work perfectly for decades could now only be obtained from third-world manufacturers. Of course, they skimped on just about every aspect to make the product as cheap as possible. American-made equivalents would have lasted for many years, while these third-world manufactures often break after two or three uses!

    But since the American industry has been destroyed, it's not even possible to buy American-made goods even if you wanted to. You're stuck buying shitty foreign products.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:03PM (#38296748) Homepage Journal

    They are hoping to get data on spectral lines not visible from within the solar system, with Voyager 1 now outside the solar system, but they're running into power budget issues. The battery is very, very low on juice, and with AAA not operating that far out, there's no chance of it getting any more. Data collected will therefore be rather more limited than NASA would like, but since existent data is zero any data will be an improvement.

  • Beautiful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Oqnet (159295) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @07:13PM (#38296854)
    I read this and I got chills. This is amazing to think that we, even if we ourselves physically have done it have left our solar system. This to me is my moon landing I can't wait to hear what they find once they pass the bubble shell.
  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arielCo (995647) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:02PM (#38297408)

    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.

    Only if you don't mind your next cell phone costing you a few months' salary. Top-notch quality in tech is costly:

    The cost of the Voyager 1 and 2 missions -- including launch, mission operations from launch through the Neptune encounter and the spacecraft's nuclear batteries (provided by the Department of Energy) -- is $865 million.

    (That'd be $3.2B in 2011 dollars)
    http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/news/factsheet.html [nasa.gov]

  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by travisco_nabisco (817002) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:11PM (#38297536)
    But with all those gusty extra-solar winds, who knows where the electrons will end up if we don't keep them in an enclosed space.
  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scratch-O-Matic (245992) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:16PM (#38297598)
    My mom is still using a Mitsubishi television she bought in 1983.
  • by zill (1690130) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @08:32PM (#38297804)

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

    Because the software industry is relatively new and treats its employees relatively well. Some industries with high percentage of unions used to mow down their workers with machine guns [wikipedia.org], so the unions were originally a self-defense mechanism of the workers that was born out of necessity.

    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.

    Walmart will close entire stores if the workers tries to unionize. So yes, they've probably lost millions of workers and thousands of stores across globe due to this tactic. But so far, like you pointed out, it's been quite effective (at a huge cost to Walmart).

    However keep in mind that this tactic only works if you have a huge number of distinct locations across many different countries. Not many companies fit that criteria.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by khallow (566160) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @04:34AM (#38300554)
    This is a really good point. I suspect an ion drive along with a huge tank of xenon and a nuclear battery (say using strontium 90 or cesium 137, both with half lives around 30 years) would be able to leave the Solar System in a couple of decades, going much faster than Voyager 1 currently is. Hmmm, sounds good enough that I should run some numbers.
  • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @05:13AM (#38300686) Journal

    Pretty sad...

    Not really. Sadly you can't ask her anymore, but I suspect that those items were very expensive and required careful planning and saving.

    You can get a cheap and nasty microwave these days for 30GBP in a supermarket. You can also get light industrial units for under 600GBP which clock in at 1900W. It's not made by a European master craftsman, or hard to get. And I'll bet that 500GBP to me or you now would be less painful than the microwave was to your gran in the 60's.

    The world now is frankly amazing. Even cheap, nasty stuff is often better then the very best stuff available 20 or 30 years ago, and vastly vastly cheaper. And you can still find the quality stuff (it took me about a minute with google for the microwave), and in fact find it even more easily than ever before.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

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