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Voyager 1 Reaches Interstellar Space

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the send-more-satellites dept.

Space 565

letxa2000 writes "CNN is reporting that Voyager 1, now some 8.4 billion miles (90 AUs) from the sun, has left the solar system and entered interstellar space by reaching the heliopause. However, whether the probe has reached the heliopause or is just coming close is the subject of two papers to be published in Thursday's Nature Magazine. The probe supposedly has enough nuclear fuel to last until 2020. Will it be able to find anything interesting outside the solar system in the next 17 years?"

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Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (5, Funny)

KFury (19522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399957)

Do you guys have any idea how much RAM had to be added to the Matrix to extend the simulation out that far?!

Re:Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400032)

Check out these excelent [goatse.cx] pictures [tubgirl.com] it took of Uranus!

Re:Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400049)

I work for Nasa and am therefore posting anonymously. While this was not done on purpose, it was by a sole astronaut, and not a decision by Nasa. That astronaut has since been let go.

Re:Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400060)

It's a linear calculation, not expotential.

But that would make your comment un-funny.

Re:Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (1)

KFury (19522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400085)

Actually, it's a constant, since it doesn't need to retain a simulation of the visited path, but yes, it would make it unfunny.

Also, there would be no judicial system in which Smith would file, nor do Agents use money...

Re:Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (4, Funny)

temojen (678985) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400083)

A sparse matrix takes up a lot less memory.

Re:Agent Smith files for Chapter 11 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400088)

Not much really. Neither the probe nor the space it "travels through" actually required any simulation at all. We only needed to simulate the probe's signal back to earth, and the data it "generated", which was merely made up from preconceived expecations, anyway. The humans were happy, and all is right with the world.

to paraphrase (2, Insightful)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399958)

Will it be able to find anything interesting outside the solar system in the next 17 years?

Short answer: No.

Long Answer: "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space... " -DNA

you never know... (1)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399986)

we probably won't find anything too groundbreaking, but there's always new pictures and small findings that can lead to new theories and such that will be interesting to anybody who likes astronomy... for example, they recently found out that black holes create sound...

Re:you never know... (2, Funny)

Polly_was_a_cracker (718522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400023)

Is it the same sound as one hand clapping?

Re:you never know... (3, Informative)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400058)

actually, kinda... it's the sound of a deep bass, which the human ear can't hear... they found out because they noticed it shifted planets and stars along it's wave... check it out here: space.com [space.com]

Re:to paraphrase (5, Interesting)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400028)

Detailed answer: Yes.

Questions that can still be investigated by Voyager include a number of questions about the interaction between the solar wind, solar magnetic field, and interstellar medium, direct measurements of the interstellar magnetic field, the actual composition of interstellar gas, where exactly the heliopause lies, and how it's affected by changes in solar activity. I'm sure there are even more questions that I haven't thought of.

Isn't it obvious? (2, Funny)

leerpm (570963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400071)

Voyager will find the long lost Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Rumsfeld will use this as an excuse to overhaul the space program! We all know the Iraqis have had a secret space program since 1950.

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FUCK YOU FAGGOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400174)

I am a 20 year old Junior at Behrend College, a division of Penn State
University, in Erie, PA. I transfered from another college, so I was placed on
the waiting list for the dorms and forced to rent. I found a place a few miles
from campus that was nice and clean, but very old. The first night I stayed
there, only one of my roommates had arrived. His bedroom is the entire 4th
floor attic, while mine was on the 3rd floor (our landlord lives on the first 2
floors). It was very hot that night. That plus the fact that I was in strange
surroundings, I could not sleep. Around 1:00 am, I heard my roommate come down
to my floor and move around in the kitchen . . . making noises as if he was
cooking. I could specifically hear kitchen drawers and cabinets opening and
closing, and the sound of silverwear and glasses clinking together. I figured
that I might as well get up and talk to him since i couldn't sleep either and I
didn't really know the guy very well at that time. So I got up out of bed, and
when I opened my door, the noises stopped and the rest of the house was pitch
black with not one light on. I still went into the kitchen, but nobody was
here. The door to his steps was shut and there was no light coming from around
it. I thought "well thats strange" and went back to bed.
AS SOON as i shut the door to my room, I heard the noises again. I layed back
down in bed, but could not sleep because of the noise. Now I was freaked out.
I got up again, looked out, and nobody was there, the house was dark. I closed
the door, went back in bed, and the noises started up again. This went on till
about 4:00 in the morning and I could not sleep because of the noise. Finally
it stopped at almost exactly 4:00 am. The next night, my other roommate had
arrived. His room is on the same floor as mine. I heard the noises start up
again around 1:00 am and again nobody was up, the house was dark. Again the
noises kept me up till 4:00 am. I asked the roommate on my floor if he had
heard anything, but he said all he heard was his door opening and closing and
assumed it was the wind. I decided to get a fan which effectively drowned out
the noise.
About a week later, my roommates both went home for the weekend. I heard the
noises again, this time over the fan I had bought. Now they sounded as if they
were IN my room. I layed in bed, scared to death, until I finally got up,
turned on all my lights and said "Shut the @#%& up I'm trying to sleep!" and
it stopped. the next night I was home alone again, so before I went to bed, I
said out loud "I don't care who you are or what you're doing here, but I do not
want to see you, hear you, or even know you are here in any way, so keep the
hell away from me." I felt REALLY FREAKED OUT while I was saying this and felt
serious chills. Nothing happened after that.
Nothing happened until a few days ago. i was watching The Wedding Singer on TBS
around 9:00 pm when something caught my attention. I looked up to see a hazy
misty figure standing in the doorway to my living room. It looked like the
heat waves coming off a grill in the summer, like that wavy type distortion of
the air or whatever. I wasn't scared, just like "what the hell?" I watched it
for a few seconds as it moved out of the door way and out of sight.
Thats all that has happened so far. I definately know I'm not imagining this.
My roommates don't seem to believe me. I always have a knack for attracting
this sort of thing. I think its because I just freak myself out.

26 years.... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399973)

Wow I should only hope to make a piece of code that lasts so long (the best I did is 3), a true testament to what a bunch of nerds with some ingenuity (and money) can really do. These days it seems we have the genius, but surely not the money. Oh well...

Can only hope some day we catch up to Voyager. Either with a probe that could pass it up, or NCC-1701 :-)

Re:26 years.... (1)

leerpm (570963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400010)

Wow I should only hope to make a piece of code that lasts so long (the best I did is 3), a true testament to what a bunch of nerds with some ingenuity (and money) can really do. These days it seems we have the genius, but surely not the money. Oh well...

Sssh.. You missed your calling with the guys who wrote the software with the Y2K bug in it!

Re:26 years.... (2, Funny)

DJTodd242 (560481) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400018)

Can only hope some day we catch up to Voyager. Either with a probe that could pass it up, or NCC-1701 :-)

More likely it'll be blown to smithereens by Klingons.

Re:26 years.... (2, Funny)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400187)

don't you mean it will swallow up one of their war ships?

Goodness... (5, Funny)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399985)

They've gone to plaid.

Re:Goodness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400143)

Offtopic

Was the Moderator on Crack? That parent is pretty funny....

Re:Goodness... (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400151)

They've gone to plaid.

Offtopic? Who the hell modded that off topic??? - Gone to plaid is a reference to ludricous speed taken from spaceballs.

Heliopause (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7399987)

Heliopause
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The heliopause is the boundary where our Sun's solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium.

The solar wind blows a "bubble" in the interstellar medium (the rareified hydrogen and helium gas that permeates the galaxy). The point where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the interstellar medium is known as the heliopause, and is often considered to be the outer "border" of the solar system.

The distance to the heliopause is not precisely known. It is probably much smaller on the side of the solar system facing the orbital motion through the galaxy. It may also vary depending on the current velocity of the solar wind and the local density of the interstellar medium. It is known to lie far outside the orbit of Pluto. The current mission of the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft is to find and study the heliopause.

An alternative definition is that the heliopause is the magnetopause between the solar system's magnetosphere and the galaxy's plasma currents.

Re:Heliopause (1)

ThrasherTT (87841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400107)

Thanks for this. I mean, it really was hard to click the link in the story.

So I guess... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7399988)

...it isn't going to reach the delta quadrant anytime soon?

Of course we know what it will find (3, Funny)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399995)

Aliens too stupid to wipe off some space dirt to realize the dang thing isn't named VEEEGERRRR!

Knock it off, Asshat! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400042)

That bald chick was way, way hot! Don't be dissin' my future wife like that!

Re:Knock it off, Asshat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400145)

That's sick, dude. That bald chick died [imdb.com] , unfortunately, in 1998.

Re:Of course we know what it will find (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400084)

How did it get so fucking dusty in the vaccuum of space in the first place?

The whole thing sounds made up.

Even if it does, will it be able to tell us? (3, Interesting)

yndrd (529288) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399996)

What's the range of communications for the probe? When will we lose our connection (if we haven't already)?

Re:Even if it does, will it be able to tell us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400057)

Communicades travel at the speed of light..

Re:Even if it does, will it be able to tell us? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400124)

Communicades travel at the speed of light..

Yes, but the power of dark overcomes it. Something about introverts being really square, or something. I'm not sure, I was pretty stoned the day they talked about that stuff.

KFG

Re:Even if it does, will it be able to tell us? (3, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400070)

What's the range of communications for the probe? When will we lose our connection (if we haven't already)?

No one knows for certain. A number of factors enter in, including the ability of Voyager to keep its antenna pointed at Earth, the amount of power left in the radiothermal generator, the size of radio telescope available for communicating with it on Earth, and possibly unknown effects from the heliopause.

Before the other TROLLSs hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400089)

RTF... what? Yadda, ..Yadda, ..Yadda, ..Yadda, ..Yadda, ..Yadda, ..

You're comment is actually relevent, but there are folks who will TROLL/Flaim yoy just because you didn't mention the article.

Re:Even if it does, will it be able to tell us? (4, Funny)

leerpm (570963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400096)

Yes, the US government has a secret message it uses to identify this point:

"Can you hear me now? .. Can you hear me now?"

communicating? (2, Insightful)

wankledot (712148) | more than 10 years ago | (#7399997)

if it does find anything, how long before it's out of earshot for us? Are we able to hear from it up until that last bit of fuel is spent?

Re:communicating? (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400026)

Well the JPL website says 2020 before the reactor can no longer power itself, I presume we can keep contact until then by just simply building bigger transmitters and receivers if/as needed (again like in a previous post of mine, assuming we have money).

Re:communicating? (3, Informative)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400181)

The fuel is for communicating, not for moving.

There's no friction in space. It can travel forever in its current direction. When the fuel runs out in 2020, we won't be able to hear from it.

Yeah but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400001)

... does it run Linux?

heliopause? (1)

spongebobsquarepants (588438) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400002)

Shouldn't it have read "...Voyager 1 has reached menopause?"

Re:heliopause? (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400136)

I really want a Beowulf cluster of these though

V-ger? (0)

Typingsux (65623) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400005)

V-ger?

A DUPE? On SLASHDOT??! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400006)

Yes, but how long til it reaches the Goatse.cx galaxy?

Look, this isn't all that important (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400008)

Fedora Core 1 is out now! Yes, now!

http://fedora.redhat.com

A huge event for the Linux community. Maybe some time next month Slashdot will cover it.

Oh, and moderators sitting at home alone with nothing fulfilling in their lives, have fun with those Offtopic mod points. You'll have a life too one day.

Not too long in the distant future... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400009)

Voyager will meet a green man with pointed ears....

I reach interstellar space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400015)

...every weekend when I use my bong. Far out man.

Elvis? (0)

Treacle Treatment (681828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400020)

So Elvis has left the building
and Voyager 1 has left the solar system

-- TT

Heliopause (4, Funny)

mongoks (540017) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400021)

Voyager 1 has reached heliopause and is now experiencing hot flashes and irritability. Hormone replacement therapy has proven innefective thus far.

Fuel running out (2, Interesting)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400025)

What is this fuel used for? Just for communicating, or does it still need acceleration? If it's just for communication, couldn't they make it last longer by increasing the intervals between each time it communicates?

Re:Fuel running out (1)

KFury (19522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400059)

It's just used for sensors and communication, but it's a nuclear fuel, and it's goiong to decay whether we use the energy or not. Plutonium's half-life is Plutonium's half-life, and there's not anything we can do about that...

Re:Fuel running out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400164)

If we can stop global warming why can't we do anything about this Plutonium business?

We need to donate more to Greenpiece and Ralph Nader.

Re:Fuel running out (1)

ThogScully (589935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400066)

I should hope its doing more than just communicating its existence to us. While it may not need to accelerate (it may, I don't know), it does have various instruments on it for measurements and observations, so that it has something to communicate to us beyond a simple "Hello."
-N

Re:Fuel running out (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400127)

It's only got a few things it needs to do: keep the antenna pointed (roughly) at Earth, run the few instruments still active (the camera, for example, has been turned off), and occasionally communicate.

Re:Fuel running out (5, Informative)

BengalsUF (145009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400097)

Voyager uses a radioisotope thermoelectric generator for its power. This means that radioactive decay of its fuel creates heat, which is used to create power. That fuel's going to decay no matter what, so you either use the power or lose it.

Re:Fuel running out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400188)

Actually, the thermocouples are what are wearing out first. The heat generated by the decaying plutonium has decreased since launch, but is still substantially similar to what it was 20 years ago.

The Heliosphere (4, Informative)

UrgleHoth (50415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400027)

NASA's page on the heliosphere [nasa.gov]

In typical /. fashion... (0, Redundant)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400029)

I didn't read the article. What kind of fuel does thing use that will last until 2020?

Re:In typical /. fashion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400041)

Well, then RTFM!

Re:In typical /. fashion... (1)

w42w42 (538630) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400091)

It's nuclear, though I'm not sure what that means re a reactor.

It's fueled by herring farts (1)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400128)

New Scientist [newscientist.com]

12.5 Hours (5, Interesting)

johnos (109351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400031)

That's how long it takes a signal to reach us from the probe. When you consider the galaxy is 100,000 light years across, 8.4 billion miles is nothing.

Re:12.5 Hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400102)

Thank you, Bill Nye.

Warning, Spoiler! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400033)

Well, sooner or later V'ger runs into an alien species and gets sent back to earth, but the crew of the Enterprise will save us from destruction.

IANAM (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400035)

(I am not a mathmatician) so can someone please explain how long "now some 8.4 billion miles (90 AUs) from the sun" is in light years?

besides that we know it will one day come back remarkably misspelling its own name, while still having a excelent knowledge of the english language...

Re:IANAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400077)

1 light year is over 5 trillion miles, so, not many :)

Re:IANAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400113)

8.4 billion miles = 0.001428936 lightyears

Google calculator rocks.

Re:IANAM (1)

leerpm (570963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400176)

Yup, or about half a day.

0.001428936 years * 365 days/year is about 0.521 days.

Re:IANAM (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400133)

Well, it takes 12 hours or so for a signal to reach us.

A light year is light travelling in a year.

The EM signals move pretty close to the speed of light, IIRC.

So, half a day = 0.5/365 =~ 0.001369863013698630136986301369863 light years.

Probably less than that.

Re:IANAM (2, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400140)

Try typing "8.4 billion miles in light years" into Google.

Isn't that spiff? :-)

About... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400144)

0.0014 light years.

Re:IANAM (1)

w42w42 (538630) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400154)

Light travels at 186k miles/second (I forget the metric equivalent). At 8.4 billion miles, it'd have to travel for 45,151 seconds, or 12.5 hours. A long ways from a light year (about 1/700th).

So no, it's not going to fly by the Klingon empire on its way to some lost world inhabited by robot machines that will in turn come back here - inside of a few hundred years.

Re:IANAM (1)

Deleted (301806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400162)

I'm not math man myself. So here's a blatant paste from some page I found on google

The speed of light is normally rounded to 300 000 kilometers per second or 186 000 miles per second.

186,000 miles a second. x however many a seconds are in a year.

Re:IANAM (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400185)

About 0.00143 light-years (or 12.5 light-hours).

Someone ought to write this down now, ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400036)

so that when V'ger comes back, we'll know what it is. I'm uncomfortable placing the fate of the Earth in the hands of James T. Kirk again.

Meanwhile (1, Insightful)

Jack Wagner (444727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400037)

There are over two million Americans who will go to sleep hungry tonight.

Why is it that we can brainwash the masses into thinking that it's okay for us to spend billions on space crap while ignoring the homeless people living in the streets and at the YMCA?

I'll never understand a society that says it's okay to blow billions on meaningless stuff in the name of science while ignoring all the social issues that plague us.

How many lean cuisines can you buy with the money we've spent on Voyager? How much beef jerky could you purchase with the billins we spend on the space shuttle?

Gah.

Money isn't the problem (4, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400130)

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to respond to this obvious troll, but here goes...

We already have enough resources to take care of all the needy people not only in this country but on this planet. The real problem is that society, as a whole, just doesn't care enough about the unfortunates enough to do anything. If we were to stop sending any money on space exploration, that money would not get immediately diverted to persons in need. It would most likely end up funding tax breaks so that people can buy a new SUV. Or maybe it would "disappear" in a S&L fraud or HUD "misappropriation".

I grow tired of hearing people complaining that we should divert money from science towards needed social programs. Those programs are underfunded because we just haven't made them a priority. Slashing someone else's budget isn't going to make that money magically appear in the budget of social programs. We would need a real fundamental change in attitudes of elected officials and the voting public.

GMD

because.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400139)

the homeless are mentally ill. The mentally ill in this country are considered to be third class citizens.

Well Jack, as Mohemmad once said (1, Troll)

typical geek (261980) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400158)

when his disciples were anointing his turban with expensive olive oil and they wondered why they shouldn't spend that money on the poor, instead of turban oil, "the poor will always be with us."

I'm sure if you met most of those hungry, homeless sorts, you'd find them to be mentally ill people who refuse to take their medidine. Now, 30 years ago, they could be forced to take their medicine, but since those touchy feely sorts got into power, they said it's against human rights to force them to take medicine. So now, they prefer to remain undrugged and homeless. Their choice.

As far as YMCA dwellers, they're all gay, every one, I think the Village People proved that.

I think we need to dump more and more money into the space program, so we can make Mars colonies and only allows brainy guys and lots of girls with big tits and nice asses to emigrate, and leave the nutsos and homos back on Earth. Are you in?

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400165)

How many lean cuisines can you buy with the money we've spent on Voyager?

I'd want a Hungry Man or a Mary Calendar Pot Pie if I was one of those hungry people. Screw lean cuisine.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400177)

I think a wise philospher said it best: The poor you will always have with you.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400182)

If you had expanded your scope I would have given you more credence.

No one need go to bed hungry in the U.S. - regardless of what we spend on space exploration. The food already exists and it is purely a matter of distribution. In fact I would say that anyone who goes to bed hungry tonight did not take advantage of services that already exist that could feed them.

Outside the U.S. it is a bit more complicated. But here- we throw out enough every day to feed a lot more than 2 million.

Things that will be found: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400038)

-A slightly higher concentration of some element on some piece of uninteresting rock that nobody cares about.

-A higher than expected concentration of radio signals coming from Earth containing desperate messages like "Hey aliens, come see us PLEASE!".

I'm looking forward to when we launch Voyager 412 in the year 3003. It will have an expected life of 4 thousand years and MIGHT make it to the next solar system where it will only take 8 years to communicate back how little was actually found.

Boring.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400040)

"Will it be able to find anything interesting outside the solar system in the next 17 years?"

Will it be able to tell us?

Let's say something was found... (0)

isfuglen (714922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400043)

Would "we the people" ever hear about it? Or would the find be a classified secret due to so-called national/international security risks and issues?

The mind boggling nature... (3, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400048)

of how scientists do not take the next big leap. What frightens me the most is that we have not sent more probes after Voyager.

Coming up is a planetary alignment that would allow a route to Tau Ceti, one of the reasonably nearby stars that could have an inhabitable planet. Using modern high-velocity nuclear engines, a probe could be engineered to reach it in 100 years, roughly. And a craft could be engineered to actually survive the travel *and* send back useful data.

I want to see interstellar probes, engineered to travel to the nearest (12ly or less) stars and explore them.

Re:The mind boggling nature... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400160)

The problem with reaching nearby stars is the velocity required to get it there. Right now, it is beyond our current tech level to send anything to another star. The velocity required is just too great to reach in our lifetime.

Re:The mind boggling nature... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400166)

Plus it could be used to validate SETI's mission - if SETI can keep listening to its signal, that is.

MICHAEL SIMS HAS BEEN FIRED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400065)

Sweet Justice, O how sweet it is. =)

Re:MICHAEL SIMS HAS BEEN FIRED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400126)

You've got proof?

Re:MICHAEL SIMS HAS BEEN FIRED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400169)

Do you have a source? I can only hope it's true!!!

Voyager ~12 Light Hours away (4, Informative)

_Sambo (153114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400072)

90 AUs (Distance from the Sun to the Earth)
*
8 minutes (Time it takes light to reach Earth from the Sun)
=
720 Light Minutes
/
60
=
12 Light Hours.

We're quite a ways away from the Light Year.

Re:Voyager ~12 Light Hours away (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400190)

0.0014231572996487112 light years

V'Ger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400078)

Perhaps it will mate with an entity that will form a vast and intricate structure that will destroy everything in its path. ...I think I have an idea for a movie!

Already Know . . . (-1, Redundant)

Dausha (546002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400080)

We already know what Voyager I will find in intersteller space. All you have to do is watch Star Trek: The Movie, and pay close attention.

Voyager's Last Message: (3, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400082)


says: "Doh, Stupid comet!"

20 years from now, against all odds, the comet bashed ever so slightly by our irresponsibly launched space probe slams into Yellowstone super volcano.

That little probe has to be stopped before it bumps into something! Send someone out to get it before it's too late!

What happens when it runs out of nuclear fuel? (0, Redundant)

HEMI426 (715714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400087)

I'm betting it'll drift around for a while, then be discovered by machines from the machine planet. Of course, we all know what happens [daisydownunder.com] after that.

How long before we catch up with it ? (4, Interesting)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400120)

I wonder if we'll ever see space technology advance enough so that, one day, we might be able to send a spacecraft past Voyager. Maybe we'll have some form of near-light-speed travel, or even faster-than-light travel, and manage to reach other stellar systems before Voyager does ?

In any case, I'll be more than satisfied if we establish a colony on Mars, tag me a conservative if you will, but I don't feel like leaving good old Sol just yet.

Space Aliens, come on down! (1)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400135)

Here's hoping that the only pre-requisite for other species to be allowed to engage in interstellar contact with yours is to build a probe that leaves your solar system. Gort shoudl be arriving anyday now to lay down the law.

Re:Space Aliens, come on down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7400178)

Marcabs, actually.

To boldy go... (2, Funny)

MoeMoe (659154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7400155)

Scientists have long theorized that a shock wave exists where the hot solar wind bumps up against the thin gas of the interstellar medium.

Picard: To boldy go where no ma-, hang on Number 1, speed bump!

Will: All hands embrace for impact...

THUMP!

Picard: Data, inform engineering that we need better suspension on this thing...
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