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NASA Space

Voyager 1, So Close To Interstellar Space That We Can Taste It! 271

mphall21 writes "Voyager 1 is nearing the edge of the 'magnetic highway' of our solar system and scientists believe this is the final area the space probe must cross before entering interstellar space. The Voyager team infers this region is still inside of our heliosphere because the direction of the magnetic field has not changed. The direction of this field is expected to change when Voyager goes into interstellar space. 'Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun's environment, we now can taste what it's like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,' said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. 'We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn't what we expected, but we've come to expect the unexpected from Voyager.' Moving at 10.5 miles per second, the space probe is the most distant man-made object from Earth. The space craft has been in operation for 35 years and receives regular commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network."
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Voyager 1, So Close To Interstellar Space That We Can Taste It!

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  • by a_hanso ( 1891616 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @11:49PM (#42175941) Journal
    35 years and still running (I had a 25 year old Toyota which did the same). What happened to us engineers? Where did we go wrong?
  • by elashish14 ( 1302231 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:11AM (#42176055)

    Space age research is still alive and well too. GP's comment comes on the heels of this [] and this [], not to mention that we're also seeing potential earths in other solar systems for the first time ever! plus at the same time learning even more about awesome our own home is.

    Maybe the public at large is more concerned about which husband/wife the latest Kardashian is on, but the age of the geeks is accelerating far faster than any it ever has, and it will continue to do so as long as there is the tiniest of means.

    And while we're on it, let's not forget that we're also thinking smaller than ever before. How long has it been since we isolated the Higgs Boson???

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:40AM (#42176185)

    We're spotting exoplanets faster than we can name them. We just landed a fucking nuclear-powered, laser-wielding science tank on Mars. Two years ago we dive-bombed the moon so we could search the debris cloud for signs of water. New Horizons is planned to leave the solar system as well once it's done with Pluto. We've got probes around Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Vesta, and whole damn fleets around the Moon and Mars, with another probe en route to Jupiter. We've got a company planning to mine the freaking asteroid belt. The ISS is constantly manned - I get Twitter pics *every* *day* from fucking *space*.

    The hell we aren't dreaming big. The only reason Voyager is the only probe so far out is because it takes forty years to get there.

  • Re:Again? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:18AM (#42176299)

    NASA today announced they have hired the writers from LOST to write upcoming press releases.

    No seriously I love to think about Voyager. Out there longer than I've been alive, visiting most of our planets, now going interstellar. I like hearing these little stories, that she is still alive and kicking. Theres all that stuff, the record, the plate. You know, when serious scientists like Carl sat around smoked a joint and thought what should we put on it if aliens find it in 100,000 years from now.

      There is no clear barrier where interstellar starts. Its basically there now. But what happens then? They turn it off? There is no more news to report.

      I look forward to launching Voyager 3 and 4 in 2151 and 2152.

  • by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:25AM (#42176325) Journal

    The biggests mistake that America made was "free-trade" and dropping their tarifs and duties.

    It is only a mistake if you are trying to keep one country on top of all the others. Free-trade has made the WORLD a better place, at the expense of the USA. Now it's up to you to decide if that is a good or bad thing.

  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:49AM (#42176435)
    George W Bush tried to cancel [] these two programs. For a paltry savings of $4 million/yr.

    And we're sadly looking back on him as 'enlightened'.
  • by a_hanso ( 1891616 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:08AM (#42176529) Journal
    Funny. I was about to make a joke about Zeno's Paradox.
  • Re:It's sad.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:31AM (#42176625)

    All done by NASA

    To be fair, ESA (European S.A.) has also a few probes here and there, like Mars / Venus Express. But to be fair, NASA has always been very passionated about what they do and are very keen to share what they found. There are amazing apps about the various probes, where they are, their status, pictures they took etc... invaluable stuff for someone interested in astronomy/physics/more-than-the-ordinary.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @03:24AM (#42176827)

    Man's pollution on a cosmic scale is essentially zero, the universe is already pre-polluted

    The average density of the universe is about one proton per cubic meter. The vast majority of the visible universe is pristine vacuum. Plus, nearly every galaxy holds at its core a matter-disposal rip-heap of eternal safe-keeping.

    Bear in mind that we now know there's a very small leak into the surrounding environment at around 60 nano-kelvin (*). Before we route too much of our crap to the galactic disposal unit, perhaps we should learn from our mistakes on the slimy blue marble and perform a rigorous environmental impact study on anthropogenic black-hole warming, just in case bumping it up to 61 nano-kelvins triggers a dark matter landslide. (By the "it's all about us, every time, and in every way" anthropic principle, every bulk coefficient of our local environment is fluttering around a precarious and exquisitely tuned value optimal to survival as we presently know it.)

    (*) For simplicity I use the Hawking temperature for a solar mass black hole. From the equation at Wikipedia, this appears to scale inversely with mass. Possibly the right temperature involves division by another factor of 4 million to account for the correct mass of the galactic darth Timbit (local idiom for doughnut hole). I'm getting 15 femto-kelvins without a napkin. Let's not be brash and mess with this number anthropogenically without really thinking things through, to solve some minor problem with space-based pollution in some gossamer filigree of the pristine vacuum.

    One would think it might be easier just to toss our junk in the direction of the Local Void []. This, however, amounts to carting your garbage uphill.

    Wikipedia: The Milky Way's velocity away from the Local Void is 270 kilometres per second (600,000 mph). Voids are hugely repulsive.

  • Re:Who's the "We" ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:40AM (#42177507)

    This is truly a triumph of modern science and unfortunately we do not dream big like this anymore. We are limited to our own backyard. The moon, Mars, etc. Such a shame.

    If the "we" in question is NASA, your assertion is true. However, if the "we" denotes the human race, nope, the dream is still on, and there are still people working towards achieving even greater goals. People in Brazil, in Japan, in India, in China are working on projects that may take us (and the "us" here means human race) further.

    And you would be wrong as well. The fact is that NASA is still dreaming big. Putting man on the moon for 3 days is NOT that hard. It was that NASA planned it, and CONgress funded it, allowing them to get it done.
    Now, NASA was striving to go to Mars and the moon in the 90's when the republicans gutted this effort. They made NASA stop work on things like Transhab and VASIMIR. The neo-cons wanted NASA spending to go into a different direction. Clinton opposed it as being short-sighted, but it was part of a deal to drop our deficit.
    THis was followed with more gutting the ISS, post Columbia, but oddly, the most important piece of the ISS, the centrifuge, was gutted. This would tell us how to survive on the moon and mars. And yet, the neo-cons gutted this on item. Just amazing.
    Then it was decided to kill off the shuttle (good, since it was costing too much money), and push for Constellation. However, again, CONgress, basically neo-cons, underfunded it so badly that the program was DOA. Thankfully, the 90's plan that NASA hatched to get private space going was funded for cargo only.
    Now, Obama comes on and backs pushing private space, while killing off Constellation (it was dead anyways and just rotting). Yet, the neo-cons have worked their tails off to kill it and any attempt to leave the planet. They tried to kill the 1-2B for funding CCDev claiming a waste of money, while pushing the SLS for 20B telling NASA which contractors they would use. In particular, it was all of the contractors that were in CONgress critter's districts.
    The neo-cons are STILL striving to kill off private space. In particular, NASA wants to fund PRIVATE fuel depot and various tugs for service. Some would be chemical, but others would be electrical (great for cargo). In addition, they want to get private space stations going, esp. Bigelow. These companies would then work together to put man on the moon and mars. NASA would simply lead the way, doing the hard R&D, while allowing private space to do the things that NASA has already R&D. With this approach, we will be on the moon by 2020, IFF the neo-cons are not allowed to gut NASA again.

    NASA is dreaming big. It is one political party that is far more interested in keeping itself alive rather than worrying about our nation's future that is the problem.

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @10:06AM (#42178535)
    Shrub tried to repeat his daddy's 'Mars Mission' publicity stunt, and with even less success. He attempted to cut NASA's funding every single year he was in office, and foisted a Pentagon bean counter on them as a 'leader'. Just like Bush The Elected, Shrub also refused to fund his glorious Mars mission. Commanded to do something extraordinarily expensive with no new moneys what choice did NASA have?

    I don't like either of the two parties, but when it comes to science and exploration the Republicans are definitely the worse of the two.

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