The Voyager space probes have gone further into the unknown than any other spacecraft. With both probes officially in interstellar space, what have we learned?
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In 1965, a PhD student figured out that every 176 years the four planets in our solar system align in such a unique way that it is possible to use their gravitational forces to slingshot from one planet to the next.
This insight, that came to fruition using just a slide rule and simple computer programs, became part of an ambitious mission to send two probes and golden records out into space for a grand tour.
Enter: The Voyagers.
The Voyager probes are two obscure looking robots, weighing roughly 800 kilograms with giant arms and big ears, it took 1,500 engineers and scientists to bring these robotic explorers to life.
The Voyagers took some of the first detailed snapshots of planets and moons—revealing Io’s volcanism, close-up details of Saturn’s icy rings, and Neptune’s great dark spot.
And after traveling for more than 43 years, clocking in 18 billion kilometers traveled, the Voyagers are taking humanity into the next great beyond: interstellar space.
With the opportunity to visit Uranus and Neptune, the NASA engineers developed a mission within a mission, outfitting the probes with 11 different instruments, redundant systems, and autonomous controls.
Find out more about the Voyager mission, what we’ve learned so far, and the experts behind it all on this episode of Focal Point.
#NASA #Space #Interstellar #Voyagers #Galaxy #Seeker #FocalPoint #Science
Voyager Mission Reveals Unexpected Pressure at The Edge of The Solar System
“NASA astronomers have used data from the Voyager probes to measure the bustle of particles rippling at the very edge of our Solar System, and discovered the pressure in the distant borderlands of our star is higher than they expected.”
NASA’s Voyager 2 Probe Enters Interstellar Space
“For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.”
How NASA Will Prolong the Lives of the Voyager Probes, 11 Billion Miles From Earth
“Launched 42 years ago, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes are now exploring the outer realms of our solar system. Sadly, the end of the mission is now firmly in sight, but NASA has a plan to keep the probes operational for as long as possible before their power finally runs out.”
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