Author Topic: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier  (Read 3942 times)

Offline Conrad

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Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« on: June 25, 2012, 12:38:32 pm »
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/21jun_finalfrontier/

June 22, 2012: For nearly 35 years, NASA’s Voyager 1 probe has been hurtling toward the edge of the solar system, flying through the dark void on a mission unlike anything attempted before.  One day, mission controllers hope, Voyager 1 will leave the solar system behind and enter the realm of the stars—interstellar space.

That day may be upon us.

"The latest data from Voyager 1 indicate that we are clearly in a new region where things are changing quickly," says Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.  This is very exciting. We are approaching the solar system's final frontier."

ScienceCasts: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier


The “frontier” he’s referring to is the edge of the heliosphere, a great magnetic bubble that surrounds the sun and planets.  The heliosphere is the sun’s own magnetic field inflated to gargantuan proportions by the solar wind.  Inside lies the solar system—“home.”  Outside lies interstellar space, where no spacecraft has gone before.

A telltale sign of the frontier’s approach is the number of cosmic rays hitting Voyager 1.  Cosmic rays are high energy particles such as protons and helium nuclei accelerated to near-light speed by distant supernovas and black holes. The heliosphere protects the solar system from these subatomic bullets, deflecting and slowing many of them before they can reach the inner planets.

As Voyager approaches the frontier, the number of cosmic rays has gone up.

"From January 2009 to January 2012, there had been a gradual increase of about 25 percent in the amount of galactic cosmic rays Voyager was encountering," says Stone.

"More recently, however, we have seen a very rapid escalation in that part of the energy spectrum. Beginning on May 7, 2012, the cosmic ray hits have increased five percent in a week and nine percent in a month."

The sharp increase means that Voyager 1 could be on the verge of a breakthrough 18 billion kilometers from Earth.

When Voyager 1 actually exits the heliosphere, researchers expect to see other changes as well.  For one thing, energetic particles from the sun will become scarce as the spacecraft leaves the heliosphere behind.  Also, the magnetic field around Voyager 1 will change direction from that of the sun’s magnetic field to that of the new and unexplored magnetism of interstellar space. 

So far, neither of these things has happened.  Nevertheless, the sudden increase in cosmic rays suggests it might not be long.

Meanwhile, Voyager 2 is making its own dash for the stars, but because of its slower pace lags a few billion kilometers behind Voyager 1.  Both spacecraft remain in good health.

"When the Voyagers launched in 1977, the Space Age was all of 20 years old," says Stone. "Many of us on the team dreamed of reaching interstellar space, but we really had no way of knowing how long a journey it would be -- or if these two vehicles that we invested so much time and energy in would operate long enough to reach it. "

As the Space Age nears the 55-year mark, there is little doubt:  The Voyagers are going the distance.
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Offline Gumby

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 01:22:13 pm »
I bet it finds a Walmart.

Offline gPink

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 02:18:32 pm »
Elvis has left the building.  8)
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Offline Pfloydgad

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 06:10:32 pm »
Can you say: V GER ?
Gene Rodenberry had some vision.
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Offline VirginiaJim

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 08:05:29 pm »
It'll never get by the 'Barrier'.
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Offline Laserjock

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 09:16:57 pm »
Wouldn't it be cool if it suddenly disappears then reappears on the opposite side of the solar system heading back to Earth?

=Laserjock=

Offline RFH87_Connie

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 08:05:37 am »
Wouldn't it be cool if it suddenly disappears then reappears on the opposite side of the solar system heading back to Earth?

Quit freaking us out.  Now you got me wondering.  I think that would change some scientific opinions about the universe.  But what do I know.  Maybe i'll move to a motel 8 and think about it.
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Offline snarf

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 10:50:45 am »
Wouldn't it be cool if it suddenly disappears then reappears on the opposite side of the solar system heading back to Earth?

=Laserjock=
Its not all that unreasonable to think it could happen.  If anyone here has every studied Quantum physics (string theory), and how space/time are inter-connected; it could conceivably happen.  :o
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Offline RFH87_Connie

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 11:00:42 am »
And, quoting from My Cousin Vinny, "Once again the communication process has broken down".  Quit freaking us out.  That's like shooting a bullet around the earth and hitting yourself in the back of the head.  Wait, what just went by my head?

http://www.hark.com/clips/lwrfprxpwx-communication-process-has-broken-down
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Offline datsaxman@hotmail.com

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 11:32:24 am »
Its not all that unreasonable to think it could happen.  If anyone here has every studied Quantum physics (string theory), and how space/time are inter-connected; it could conceivably happen.  :o

Ummmm...I TEACH the stuff.  And no, it could NOT happen.  The inter-connectedness of space and time dates from Relativity Theory at least.  Way simpler than QM. 

I think the reference here is to General Relativity and the warping of SpaceTime, leading to the speculation that the universe may be "curved", rather than "flat", although the words are in quotes because you should not think of them quite as literally as if you were thinking of a sheet of paper.  If something could go to the left and then "come back" from the right due to this warping, it would take a very long time.  25-30 billion years at light speed, minimum. 

BTW, Quantum Mechanics is a pretty well developed system.  There is no other theory competing for attention.  Many Quantum theorists do not believe that String Theory is correct.  There are a number of competing theories.  The point?  QM and String Theory are not at all the same.  QM makes testable propositions...String Theory cannot, and therefore is not "scientific".  String Theory is more like a mathematics-based religion than a scientific theory. 

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Offline Conrad

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 12:08:38 pm »
Wouldn't it be cool if it suddenly disappears then reappears on the opposite side of the solar system heading back to Earth?

=Laserjock=

Of course that could never happen, not in our lifetimes.

What could happen though...

Voyager continues on it's journey, on it's way through interstellar space when astronomers notice something strange. What seems to be a space craft heading our way from the opposite direction. As it gets closer they notice that it looks exactly like Voyager 1. Closer still and all eyes are on it as it approaches Earth. The super secret unmanned Air Force Space drone is sent to investigate.  As it turns out, this version of Voyager was sent from another version of Earth in another universe. On this version of Earth the Bears have won every Superbowl since the inception of the game. Oh yeah, and I am King of the Earth and everyone does my bidding.

Now, who's going to get me a beer?
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Offline RFH87_Connie

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 12:22:18 pm »
What could happen though...

As it turns out, this version of Voyager was sent from another version of Earth in another universe.

That would be more believable.
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Offline MizzouMike

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 12:23:06 pm »
Quote
Of course that could never happen, not in our lifetimes.

What could happen though...

Voyager continues on it's journey, on it's way through interstellar space when astronomers notice something strange. What seems to be a space craft heading our way from the opposite direction. As it gets closer they notice that it looks exactly like Voyager 1. Closer still and all eyes are on it as it approaches Earth. The super secret unmanned Air Force Space drone is sent to investigate.  As it turns out, this version of Voyager was sent from another version of Earth in another universe. On this version of Earth the Bears have won every Superbowl since the inception of the game. Oh yeah, and I am King of the Earth and everyone does my bidding.

Now, who's going to get me a beer?

Now if you said the Cubs had won every world series, I would know that you had lost your marbles.  ;D
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Offline Conrad

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 12:33:15 pm »
Now if you said the Cubs had won every world series, I would know that you had lost your marbles.  ;D

We're talking possibilities only here. In an infinite universe anything that can possibly happen will happen.

The Cubs winning it all? Not so much.
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Offline snarf

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Re: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 01:36:05 pm »
Ummmm...I TEACH the stuff.  And no, it could NOT happen.  The inter-connectedness of space and time dates from Relativity Theory at least.  Way simpler than QM. 

I think the reference here is to General Relativity and the warping of SpaceTime, leading to the speculation that the universe may be "curved", rather than "flat", although the words are in quotes because you should not think of them quite as literally as if you were thinking of a sheet of paper.  If something could go to the left and then "come back" from the right due to this warping, it would take a very long time.  25-30 billion years at light speed, minimum. 

BTW, Quantum Mechanics is a pretty well developed system.  There is no other theory competing for attention.  Many Quantum theorists do not believe that String Theory is correct.  There are a number of competing theories.  The point?  QM and String Theory are not at all the same.  QM makes testable propositions...String Theory cannot, and therefore is not "scientific".  String Theory is more like a mathematics-based religion than a scientific theory. 

saxman
(from the Dept. of Physics)
:-\ :-\ I was just trying to explain what I learned while watching "Quantum  Leap" and the Sci-Fi channel.
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