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June 16th, 2012

Bye Bye, Voyager

I’m totally stealing a link from MetaFilter, but this is pretty amazing. Voyager 1 is just about to leave our solar system, having traveled some 11 billion miles from Earth.

I’m a sci-fi geek and sure, it’s hurt to see NASA’s budget and scope cut down dramatically over my lifetime. Projects like the Mars Rover were astounding. Knowing Voyager 1 – as old as I am – is still out there and still traveling is something to behold. We did good on this one.

There’s also more information at NASA including this bit which will give you some perspective:

The Voyagers have enough electrical power and thruster fuel to operate at least until 2020. By that time, Voyager 1 will be 12.4 billion miles (19.9 billion KM) from the Sun and Voyager 2 will be 10.5 billion miles (16.9 billion KM) away. Eventually, the Voyagers will pass other stars. In about 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will drift within 1.6 light years (9.3 trillion miles) of AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis. In some 296,000 years, Voyager 2 will pass 4.3 light years (25 trillion miles) from Sirius, the brightest star in the sky . The Voyagers are destined—perhaps eternally—to wander the Milky Way.

296,000 years! By then, the golden record on the spacecraft is going to be really, really obsolete.

Posted in Technology

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