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Space Earth NASA

Voyager 1 Finds Unexpected Wrinkles At the Edge Of the Solar System 164

Voyager 1 has been close to the boundary of the solar system for quite a while; we've mentioned that the edge is near a few times before, including an evidently premature report in 2010 that Voyager had reached a distance so far from the sun that it could no longer detect solar winds and another in 2011 that it had reached an "outer shell" of solar influence. It turns out that the boundaries of the solar system are fuzzier than once anticipated; the L.A. Times is reporting that "Toward the end of July 2012, Voyager 1's instruments reported that solar winds had suddenly dropped by half, while the strength of the magnetic field almost doubled, according to the studies. Those values then switched back and forth five times before they became fixed on Aug. 25. Since then, solar winds have all but disappeared, but the direction of the magnetic field has barely budged." Also at Wired, which notes "That's hard to explain because the galaxy's magnetic field is thought to be inclined 60 degrees from the sun's field. No one is entirely sure what's going on. ... [It's] almost as if Voyager thought it was going outside but instead found itself standing in the foyer of the sun's home with an open door that allows wind to blow in from the galaxy."
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Voyager 1 Finds Unexpected Wrinkles At the Edge Of the Solar System

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  • Don't worry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGoodNamesWereGone ( 1844118 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:57AM (#44147063)
    Vejur will be back
  • by michelcolman ( 1208008 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @04:11PM (#44148849)

    You must be joking. Why on earth would you use a complicated OS like Linux for something that just has to do one very particular job? And then have some hacker take control of it because they found a vulnerability in one of the services the probe was never intended to use anyway? Or the software crash because of some mysterious bug in some library written by some guy in his parents' basement 10 years ago?

    I remember video players (tapes, early discs) that would start playing pretty much immediately after you switched them on. Nowadays, you switch on a DVD/blueray player and you get "Welcome" for about 20 seconds. Then the thing crashes every now and then so it needs a reboot. Yep, it's running some flavor of Linux. If you need reliability and efficiency, I'll take 70's technology any time.

    Just program the thing directly for whatever it needs to do, using proprietary code. The code will be 1% the size and a lot more efficient.

    (Not that I don't like Linux, by the way. It's great for general purpose equipment where you might actually need all of those capabilities)

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.