Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Voyager 2 Shows Solar System Is "Dented"

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the folded-spindled-mutilated dept.

Space 173

Selikoff writes "NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is 'dented' by the local interstellar magnetic field, space experts said on Monday. The data were gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey when it crossed into a region called the 'termination shock.' The data showed that the southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere is being pushed in. Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter this region of the solar system, behind Voyager 1, which reached the northern region of the heliosheath in December 2004."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp (0, Troll)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669039)

dent this you insensitive magnet!

Who you gonna call? Interstellar fix-it man. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669041)

""NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is 'dented' by the local interstellar magnetic field, space experts said on Monday."

Don't look at me! I'm not going to fix it.

Shape? (3, Interesting)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669067)

Could somebody explain how exactly the solar system has an innate 'shape'? I would think that that would be human-defined, not an actual, measureable feature.

Re:Shape? (5, Interesting)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669085)

Its not the solar system that is dented but its far reaches where the solar wind suddenly slows down that is 'dented'. Figure a magnetic field or a sphere that is effected by its environment and causes it to lose its shape... The area where the solar wind slows down changes in shape due to interstellar influences... gasses, magnetic fields, etc... From a few articles I read on this the other day Voyager 2 passed through the terminal shock numerous times so far and will again in 2008 because it is constantly changing shape. Although I may be wrong, and I have been up all night sick and decided to go into work at 4 am... I dunno what the hell is wrong with me lol.

Re:Shape? (2, Interesting)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669643)

Ok how long apart are these 2 (count them 2) points of reference? V2 also crossed the boundary what, 5 times? It seams to me that this could be stronger evidence that the whole thing fluctuates in size, rather than having a hard, irregular boundary.

Re:Shape? (0, Redundant)

shokk (187512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669953)

Going to go out on a limb here and guess that this has to do with our sun's solar cycles. But also which star systems have passed through these areas of the galaxy thousands of years before us, and of course, their solar cycles. Next year, or 20 years after, the other side could be squashed. I think it probably more resembles a flame.

Re:Shape? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21670111)

This is the common method of viewing what termination shock is on earth: go to a sink and turn it on, as you will see in the basin, when the water hits, its ejected out on all sides. On the outskirts of the basin, where the water is forced by gravity back down, the water will become regular, non-moving, etc. This is the interstellar medium, the ambient pressure from outside our solar system is pushing against the solar wind (the water thats rushing away from its impact location) creating a location thats called termination shock. This location, as you can clearly see, is moving, always fluctuating. It changes its shape in response to the outside pressure (which here on earth, is caused by gravity wanting to pull the water down in the basin). You can probably easily see how a object could pass this boundary several times, especially when you realize that our solar system is much, much bigger then this example. A dented shock boundary could occur when, for whatever reason, the rushing water is being pushed back sooner. Perhaps there is more pressure on that side, or, in the case of space, you have some magnetic influences acting against the solar wind. Granted there could be other reasons, but the smart minds of today say its probably magnetic influences.

A Fire Upon the Deep (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670143)

It seams to me that this could be stronger evidence that the whole thing fluctuates in size, rather than having a hard, irregular boundary.

Small weather-like fluctuations at the periphery of this Zone are normal, but it only fluctuates wildly when there is some kind of a malignant, evil force that needs to be neutralized. The only question is how deep Earth is within the Unthinking Deeps.

Re:A Fire Upon the Deep (1)

mmdog (34909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670401)

...The only question is how deep Earth is within the Unthinking Deeps.
I've often pondered that question and my gut always tells me we are pretty deep. Seems almost like we are sinking deeper every day...

Re:Shape? (5, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669095)

Could somebody explain how exactly the solar system has an innate 'shape'? I would think that that would be human-defined, not an actual, measureable feature.

Well the Sun has an innate shape. It is mostly a sphere, flattened a little bit by rotation. Other factors such as magnetic fields will play a part.

The solar wind is really the outer part of the sun, so in one sense we are embedded in the sun, and it flows around our planet. It has long been expected that the solar wind would meet the interstellar medium at some sort of bow shock on the upstream side with a tail of sorts on the downstream side.

This article suggests that magnetic fields which exist between stars also affect the shape of the boundary between the solar wind and whatever is outside it. Instruments on the Voyager spacecraft tell us which medium it is in at any point in time.

Re:Shape? (4, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669149)

It is human defined in a sense, however the humans in question aren't arbitrarily picking a point, they are basing the definition on a measurable physical property, ie the area where the Sun's magnetic field has a (dominating) effect.

Re:Shape? (4, Informative)

entrigant (233266) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669169)

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliosphere [wikipedia.org]

Basically the suns solar winds push back interstellar matter. This can have a shape.

Re:Shape? (3, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669355)

Basically the suns solar winds push back interstellar matter. This can have a shape.

So what your saying is, out there in interstellar space is a giant space kitteh saying 'I has a shape, let me apply it to you'.

If it drops some giant space kitteh kibble while doing this, we are so screwed..

Re:Shape? (1)

entrigant (233266) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669471)

So what your saying is, out there in interstellar space is a giant space kitteh saying 'I has a shape, let me apply it to you'.

Precisely

Re:Shape? (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670117)

Quick throw it a cheeseburger!!!

human defined? (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669253)

Hmm? Is there anything known to us humans, that isn't human-defined?

Re:human defined? (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669317)

McDonalds?

Re:human defined? (2, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670147)

Pi? I've certainly never seen a complete definition of it, only approximations.

Re:human defined? (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670343)

Complete definition of pi:

4 * sum(i=1 to infinity) { (-1)^(i-1) (1/i) }

Re:human defined? (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670409)

Nice. Although I would counter that that's the definition of the formula to calculate Pi, and not Pi itself. Of course at this point we've basically descended into semantic bickering and since I was only half serious in my original post I'm going to leave it at this.

Re:Shape? (1)

blastwave (757518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670591)

It has paint primer, rust, no hub caps and dirt in most places too. No surprise there. Have you seen some of the low life beings that live in there?

I don't get it (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669069)

Voyager 2's data is scientifically exciting for a number of reasons, NASA said. The spacecraft has a working plasma instrument that can directly measure the velocity, density and temperature of the solar wind. A similar instrument on Voyager 1 stopped functioning long ago.

Voyager scientists had expected the temperatures within the termination shock to be about 1,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (555,500 C) as material normally slows down and is heated up when it encounters an obstacle in a normal shock wave.

But according to Edward Stone of California Institute of technology, the temperatures registered were much lower, at around 200,000 degrees F (111,100 C). Also, Voyager 1 made only one crossing into the termination shock while Voyager 2 has made at least five shock crossings over several days which allowed

how does the spacecraft survive in those temperatures?

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669109)

how does the spacecraft survive in those temperatures?

The density is very low. The body of the spacecraft might get hit by individual molecules which have that temperature, but what are a few thousand molecules going to do to it?

Re:I don't get it (4, Interesting)

sqldr (838964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669637)

As an analogy, it's like smoking. You're breathing particles at up to 6000 degrees C, but it doesn't do (much) damage.

Re:I don't get it (4, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670073)

My hat is off to you. You, sir, are a master of irony.

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669143)

Probably simple physics ... remember, the density of the gas in space is very low (almost non existant); this implies that there are very few particles hitting the craft at that temperature. Meaning that the craft only needs to have roughly 10000 times the density of space to operate at a "normal" temperature. Given the craft is made out of solid things like metal, that shouldn't be too hard...

Re:I don't get it (1)

SquirrelsUnite (1179759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669275)

Despite the high temperatures an astronaut would actually freeze to death out there without thermal insulation. His body would still radiate heat and the low density matter would not be able to make up for the lost energy.

I, for one... (5, Interesting)

sammydee (930754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669071)

Actually think it's awesome that even twenty YEARS after it's launch, voyager 2 [wikipedia.org] is STILL doing useful science. Another thing that astounds me is how the engineers managed to ensure that even after all these years in the hostile environment of space, this machine is still perfectly functional.

Re:I, for one... (2, Funny)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669103)

I find it amazing as well. However, I know that someday Voyager will stop functioning and will shut down from lack of nuclear fuel... or be destroyed by Klingons... or even return to Earth is a horrible epic adventure involving the Enterprise....

Re:I, for one... (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670113)

Or it'll get destroyed crashing into a Krenim time warship, followed by the timeline changing so it'll never have happened and everyone living happily ever after...

Its not really hostile (5, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669119)

  • Temperatures are extremely stable, so there is no expansion or contraction
  • Your electronics can't get rained on or filled with dust
  • There are no rats to eat your wires (yet)
  • There are no engineers around to fiddle with it and improve it (yes I know this does happen to software)
  • Cold is generally good for equipment, but not too much of course.
  • Your chance of being hit by a meteor is probably less than on Earth
  • etc

If I ever do the transhuman thing and get turned into software, The Oort cloud is where I would want to be for serious durability.

Re:Its not really hostile (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669523)

Although its only a matter of time before Mynocks get to it. :)

Re:Its not really hostile (4, Informative)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669735)

Cold is generally good for equipment, but not too much of course.

Actually, the "cold" of space doesn't help at all. Because the density of particles is so low, spacecraft can't cool down by convection. Cooling spacecraft (eg shedding internally generated heat) is a big problem. Also, the main "harsh" ingredient of space is radiation. The technology used in spacecraft is usually way behind commercial technology because it also has to be "rad-hardened."

please go back to school. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669915)

It is neither hot nor cold in a vacuum, moron.

Re:Its not really hostile (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670447)

Your chance of being hit by a meteor is less than the chance of the Earth being hit by a meteor. But the chance of you being hit by a meteor if you are outside the earths atmosphere is actually greater because most small meteorites burn up in the Earths atmosphere before reaching sea level.

What about... (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670475)

What about space herpes?

Re:I, for one... (5, Funny)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669165)

Actually, voyager 1 and 2 stopped working after a few months, current "findings" are just invented by NASA.

Re:I, for one... (1)

SquirrelsUnite (1179759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669315)

Just wait til the writers' strike hits them.

Re:I, for one... (1)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669495)

Are you sure they are not working anymore?

Re:I, for one... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669543)

Balls, man: the cocaine broke them long ago, as a glance at the output reveals.

The Truth (3, Funny)

ScotlynHatt (764928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670329)

Okay folks, I have some bad news for you. Human space exploration is deforming the universe and stuff. You heard it here first. I declare this anomaly "Universal Warming." What's higher than the Nobel prize?

Re:I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669507)

NASA took extended warranty from Circuit City.

Obviously (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669099)

Obviously, the reason the solar system is dented is because God dropped it.

Re:Obviously (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669133)

Oops, sorry.

-God

Re:Obviously (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669137)

Proves to you that the bible has answers to everything!

Dented? (3, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669111)

Good job we have third party insurance on this sucker, I'd hate to see what we hit...

It seems logical (4, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669161)

that the birthplace of Arthur, Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, contains something that appears Dent(ed).

Re:It seems logical (1)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669835)

What does the Z mean?

Which Z?

All of them.

Wow... (1)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669227)

They sure don't make 'em like they used to. Of course, this isn't the first time I've heard of the Voyager probes, but I am amazed every time I read a story about them. Thirty years old and still flying through space taking measurements. Absolutely amazing.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669297)

Uuh, ever heard of Spirit and Opportunity? And they are in a much more hostile environment, too.

Is this any better than conjecture? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669231)

AFAICT, they have one data point on the surface of the 'sphere'. Using that one data point they decide that the sphere isn't spherical. If they had a hundred Voyagers all leaving the solar system in different directions at the same time, I would be more convinced.

Re:Is this any better than conjecture? (4, Informative)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669453)

Actually, they seem to base their conclusion on the fact that Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 don't seem to have entered the termination shock at the same distance from the earth.

FTA:

"Voyager 2 entered the termination shock almost 1 billion miles closer within the southern hemisphere of the heliosphere of the solar system than Voyager 1 previously had," said Voyager Project scientist Edward Stone of the California Institute of Technology.

Re:Is this any better than conjecture? (4, Informative)

MikeyVB (787338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669525)

Actually, they seem to base their conclusion on the fact that Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 don't seem to have entered the termination shock at the same distance from the earth.

Actually, they seem to base their conclusion not only on that fact, but also because they had theorized that it might be that way from computer models that predicted when Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 reached the termination. So far Voyager 1 (actually, not sure on V1) and Voyager 2 reached the termination shock around where they thought they would according to the model that the Solar System is asymmetrical as described in TFA. (This [www.cbc.ca] arcicle briefly mentions the computer model)

Re:Is this any better than conjecture? (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670071)

Two data points, surely? And if they're right, they expect more in the future...

Re:Is this any better than conjecture? (1)

ISMist (1202169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670555)

Yes, it is much better than conjecture. The article does a poor job of describing the evidence and theory involved. The theory is based on a wide range of data and modeling of the solar wind and the interstellar medium. If you really want to learn more about it I suggest you search astro-ph on heliosphere (http://xxx.lanl.gov/find/astro-ph [lanl.gov] ) -- here's one good paper to read: http://xxx.lanl.gov/pdf/astro-ph/0606324 [lanl.gov] . Or at least read the wikipedia article on the heliosphere. In fact the heliosphere is bow-shaped as has been understood for some time. The "dent" mentioned is a departure from the roundish shape of the bow shock in the upwind direction -- really asymmetry is a better description. And its based partly on when the two Voyagers crossed the solar wind termination shock and partly on the direction from which particles were detected as Voyager 2 approached the shock.

My bad (2, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669255)

Sorry folks, this was my fault. The folks were out of town and I figured I'd take the solar system out for a spin. I took a hard right to dodge a black hole and one thing led to another... Anyway, sorry about the dent; I'll pay for the damage.

Dent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669271)

Boy, it's the most... it just leaves the frogs standing!

Halp! (4, Insightful)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669291)

southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere

Could someone remind me how to orientate myself in the universe?

Re:Halp! (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669351)

Up is the shortest distance out of your head. In most cases, its best if "up" is not in the same direction as the dominant gravity source.

Re:Halp! (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670051)

It's even simpler: Google is always up, TFA is always down.

Re:Halp! (3, Funny)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669447)

The Enemy's Gate is Down.

Re:Halp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669559)

By the dent in the solor system's heliosphere, duh.

Seriously though, most planets orbit the sun in a rough plane. Now the earth's rotational axis is roughly perpendicular to this plane. Not quite, otherwise we wouldn't have summers and winters, but close. The direction perpendicular to the plane that roughly coincides with the way the north end of the earth's rotational axis points is often called north, the other direction south. I imagine you could do the same for the galaxy, but farther outwards things become trickier.

Re:Halp! (4, Informative)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669683)

Right hand rule. Fist your right hand, and the fingers indicate direction of spin. The thumb indicates North. Most of the Milky Way galaxy follows this rule, in conjunction with Earth (excepting Uranus, not a team player).

Re:Halp! (3, Funny)

rb4havoc (822483) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670235)

So basically, Uranus is the Dennis Rodman of Planets?

Re:Halp! (2, Funny)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670299)

Most of the Milky Way galaxy follows this rule, in conjunction with Earth (excepting Uranus, not a team player).
No kidding, that guy is a real ass.

Re:Halp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21670381)

Doesn't Venus rotate in the opposite direction?

Re:Halp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21670511)

On the other hand, Ur-mom's-anus is a team player, and will accept that fist you just made.

Re:Halp! (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670543)

I'm left handed, you insensitive clod!

Re:Halp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669733)

The closest thing to a universal frame of reference is the cosmic microwave background. The Solar System is moving, with respect to that, at about 370 km/s (1,332,000 kmh) in the direction of Leo.

http://mrsquid.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:Halp! (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670029)

Perhaps towards Polaris. Or you could use the celestial pole.

Or you could use the plane of the solar system which contains planetary orbits as the "equator" and then decide to orient one as "north" to either the celestial pole or the pole star.

Really, it's not that hard.

Still a very good Solar System. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669329)

"Very Good - Looks fine at arm's length, but looking closer reveals soft corners and other imperfections."

There goes our hopes for a near mint Solar System.

Someday we'll finally end destroying the Earth and start with the rest. This gives us a head start.

who needs an atmosphere /solar 'system' anyway? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669331)

particularly if it's already damaged?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/12/11/arctic.melt.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

after all, we'll still have gas for yOUR suv's, & electricity/freezers to make ice for yOUR cocktails, right?

that could explain why the nazis are so busy blocking out the suns' rays without mentioning it to us? so we won't have to fret about anything?

we're intending for the megalomaniacal execrable to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather'.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

better days ahead, for some?

these, & other questions never raised, might be addressed in the not very likely upcoming; yOUR elected president 'lonesome al gore answers yOUR questions interview, here on /.? he's at least part citizen, &/or scientist, right?

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

another ding in the solar system (2, Funny)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669449)

Should have parked farther out, not close to any other solar systems. Probably won't even meet the deductible.

That's a relief (1)

Steeltalon (734391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669451)

It's good to know that the grocery store won't charge full price for our solar system.

Thats just because of the black hole in Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669505)

That's just because of the black hole eating away at the center of Mars, where all the water went...

Remember that giant supercollider project that was cancelled? That's probably as far as the Martians got.

Re:Thats just because of the black hole in Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21669789)

Thanks for elucidating this. I was thinking it was because of the black hole in Uranus...

Last Time I Let Him Borrow the Car! (0, Redundant)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669509)

The Solar System is Dented! God damn it! That's the last time I let Voyager 2 borrow the Solar System. This is going to have to come out of Voyager 2's allowance!

Re:Last Time I Let Him Borrow the Car! (1)

SkimTony (245337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669691)

Yeah, it's a shame he can't be better behaved, like his older brother, Voyager 1.

I could have... (0, Redundant)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669709)

Dented?!?!

I could have saved 15% or more on my solar system insurance...

Re:I could have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21670341)

GALACTICO.com, so easy an Earthman can do it.

I have updated Wikipedia to reflect this (2, Funny)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669791)

RE: "Voyager 2 Shows Solar System Is "Dented", and "our solar system is not round"
The Wikipedia entry for "Solar System" has a bunch of silly stuff about planets and moons and asteroids and other useless stuff, so I've deleted it all and replaced it with the much more informative: "not round, but Round-ish" ...update: Grrr... some wiki-fanboi perfectionist editor has corrected it to read "sphere-ish" ... oh well, at least my edit has a reference source so I guess I'll just take it up with Jimmy Wales

Scratch'N'Dent special... (0, Redundant)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669807)

Sounds like God got a "Scratch'N'Dent" special...Sometimes those are guaranteed for a couple of thousand years so maybe he can return it...wait...nevermind...

How does it stand the thermal shock? (1)

Tzinger (550448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669819)

My question is how Voyager 2 can stand the thermal shock. The article reports that the temperature is something around 200,000 degrees. They are actually talking about the temperature of the "ions" but I would think that would damage the probe?

I know we are not talking ambient temperature which would vaporize the probe. How dense is the matter and how do you measure this kind of energy?

Re:How does it stand the thermal shock? (2, Interesting)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670083)

How dense is the matter and how do you measure this kind of energy?
Very sparse. With a thermometer.

It's like.... (0, Redundant)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669827)

...millions of personal-injury lawyers cried out in pleasure at the idea of the galaxy's largest class-action damages lawsuit, and were suddenly silenced - by realizing that simply serving the summons on that bastard Fomalhaut (we know it was him, he's always been a troublemaker) would take longer than their lifespans.

Nevertheless, I'm sure a few are planning to file anyway this morning, "just in case".

I knew we should have taken out insurance... (-1, Redundant)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669923)

I knew we should have taken out a comprehensive insurance policy! Did anyone see the galaxy that hit us, coz the premiums are going to be HUGE on this one!

I just find it amazin (1)

Martian_Kyo (1161137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21669997)

that the thing has been functioning for 30 years, in such conditions.* All the star trek shows have made us immune to the amazement of such a feat. I mean this thing traveled to the edge of the solar system, we can't begin to comprehend that distance....that's gotta be at least some 30-40 light seconds away from the sun.
It traveled a huge distance, over a rather large period of time, and it still function.
if that doesn't desrve a 'WOW'** that i don't know what does.

*No MS/Linux jokes please
**No World of Warcraft jokes please.

Re:I just find it amazin (2, Informative)

Technopaladin (858154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670081)

I ANAAP but Earth is 8 Light minutes from the sun...so I would suspect we are talking an hour or so.

Re:I just find it amazin (1)

Martian_Kyo (1161137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670149)

oh right...right...i thought it was 8 seconds

still an hour....even more amazing
you look at the sun, and that's a sun from an hour ago....if sun disappeared you would still see it for an hour. It's an old realization, that quite a few stars I see at night don't even exist anymore.

This is not a new fact to me, but it never ceases to amaze me. Puts everything in perspective somehow. Just proves to you if you see something it doesn't really mean it's there or it even exists anymore. BTW Anyone got a clue how long does it take a signal, to travel from Voyager 2 to Earth?

Almost 12 light-hours, actually (4, Informative)

yeremein (678037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670205)

This article [newscientist.com] says it's 84 AU out, which is a little more than 11.6 light-hours [google.com] .

Re:Almost 12 light-hours, actually (1)

Technopaladin (858154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670269)

Good call.. I decided to look it up and low and behold my understanding of the solar system was very off. Really amazing how big the Solar system is.

Re:I just find it amazin (1)

TheOrquithVagrant (582340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670387)

>that's gotta be at least some 30-40 light seconds away from the sun.

I'm not sure if that was tongue-in-cheek, but the signal round-trip time to the voyagers are over 29 hours for V1 and closing on 24 hours for V2. Distance, in other words, is roughly 15 & 12 light _hours_. Heck even the sun itself is 8 light-minutes away. 30-40 light-seconds isn't very far, really.

Discount at the register? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21670009)

I wonder if whatever deity got a discount on it at the universe supply store?

Awww... (1)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670057)

it's not dented, it just needed a hug. [pbfcomics.com]

King of All Cosmos went on a bender again... (2, Funny)

Genom (3868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670135)

Looks like the Prince has some rolling to do.

Oh, good grief, you kids (1)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670469)

I go and give you a brand new solar system, and what do you do? You go and *dent* it! And that won't even buff out, I'm going to have to use some interstellar Bondo!

Uh-oh! (1)

sirgoran (221190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670593)

Better get Maaco! http://www.maaco.com/ [maaco.com]

This makes me wonder... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21670723)

When was the last time we launched something with an intended lifespan of 30+ years? I can't recall (not to say that there *aren't*) any projects in the past 10-20 years. Granted, Spirit may end up running for a total of 30 years, but it's been running unexpectedly for a while already, and had no intentions of running for 1 year, let alone 30.

Is there any way to get the US public behind a long-term investment like the Voyagers again?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?