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back to article Voyager goes off a (helio) cliff

Probably the most-loved survivor of 1970s space optimism, Voyager, has sent back signals indicating that it's left the heliosphere. Scientists are now discussing whether they should consider the 35-year-old probe to be in interstellar space, or to have entered a new region of space that hasn't been previously described. The …

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It must be feeling really lonely.

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Happy

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Nah. By now it is actually on board an alien spacecraft where it is undergoing study to determine who built it & return it to them. I've seen the movie.

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Re: Re:

Is that the one with John Travoltra ?

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Alien

Re: Re: @ Don Jefe

Hold on, wasn't it manually targeted and blasted to smitherenes by a bored Klingon?

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Alien

Re: @ Don Jefe

I think that Was Voyager 2. Wasn't Ve'ger some super intelligent Voyager 1

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Trollface

Re: @ Don Jefe

No... THAT was V'ger... ;)

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Alien

Re: @ Don Jefe

V'ger was Voyager 6, supposedly sucked down what was known in the late 20th Century as a "black hole", suggesting the event happened before the 21st Century; also suggesting said black hole was right on Earth's doorstep. Funny, the galaxy always seems so small in the Star Trek Universe, until you end up in the Delta Quadrant that is.

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Pint

Re: Re:

"Is that the one with John Travoltra ?"

No, you're thinking of 'Saturday Night Fever'.

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Alien

Re: Re:

Well, his suit was 'out of this world'...

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Pint

keep going baby

No matter what happens going forward at least Voyager will be mankind's tombstone for eternity (or at least until its protons decay far in the future). Unless someday we get our crap together and go retrieve it.

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Re: keep going baby

"Unless someday we get our crap together and go retrieve it."

Hey Bezos! Did you get that?

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Coat

Re: keep going baby

That would incur a fearsome charge from a call out to an interstellar towing company

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Anonymous Coward

Re: keep going baby

We could retrieve it, but it would later be sent back along its path by the historical stickler society.

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The Real "Wow" Signal

A transmission from Voyager, that far off and after this much time from launch, is the real "Wow" signal.

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Re: The Real "Wow" Signal

I agree, and the fact that it's instruments appear to still be functioning...amazing success story all round

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Re: The Real "Wow" Signal

things were built to last in the 1970s. Try getting that kind of mileage from anything built post 1990.

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Pretty good!!

For a transmitter with about as much power as a refrigerator light bulb. I believe it has about 15 watts or so in the transmitter. Nice to have a good antenna here on earth, and a slow data rate.

Now everyone apply the inverse square law, and incorporate path loss.

MJS77 is alive and well!

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Meh

Re: Pretty good!!

But the radiation is bundled by the parabolic antenna, so it's less than inverse square...

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Boffin

Re: Pretty good!!

No, the inverse square law still applies, it's just that you start off with a substantially greater fraction of full power.

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18 billion km thats like saying

you're 1 billion seconds old instead of 31 years.

either use 18 terameters or 16.69 light hours

now is that a short scale or long scale billion? :)

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Paris Hilton

Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

Whats that in London double decker buses?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html#velocity says...

1952489424015.6204 Buses long.

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Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

Dunno, but its about 1 in London traffic jams...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

Or 708.66 billion cubits.

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Trollface

Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

Yes, but can we measure that distance in bacon sandwiches?

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Boffin

Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

It'll be short scale, since that's the standard scale used in astronomy.

Remember when it was only 5.5 light hours away? Ah, those were the days.

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Coat

Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

Depends how quickly you eat them..

Mines the one with the emergency bacon sandwich in the pocket

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Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

Or the length of my cock.

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Happy

Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

I don't think NASA has the supercomputer capabilities to measure such a large distance with such a small unit.

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Re: 18 billion km thats like saying

"Or the length of my cock."

Is that the God Particle?

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Unhappy

Imagine

Maybe there's a probe from some place else headed our way!

Then again, probably not.

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Re: Imagine

On past form we won't notice it until it explodes over the Russian steppe...

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Alien

Re: Imagine

...seeding the planet with alien bacteria designed to create the perfect living environment for the alien hordes following behind in their spaceship; everyone keep an eye out for giant, carnivorous worms covered in pink fur!!!

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Coat

Re: Imagine

Oh yes, you can just imagine the aliens mission control:

"YES!!!! our very first probe is about to enter a planet with all the signs of life! this is extraordinary! significant!"

"We are about to make first contact!!"

BOOOM!!!!!!!

"Oh bollocks...."

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Boffin

Re: Imagine

I am Nomad...

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

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Windows

Pah

11 beeelion miles = 0.0018712 of a light year.

A piffling figure which highlights a few things. Just how slow even a fast vehicle like Voyager is and how fucking VAST the universe is....

Voyager is still one of our best acomplishments ever. Ever.....

Roll on mankind. We have a lot to do.....

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IT Angle

It's an impressive feat.

As for the IT angle.

1 of the first NASA processors to use CMOS for the logic and the memory (no core store. Even the Shuttle GPCs were not prepared to go that far).

4Khz processor. <64KB of RAM. Try writing an image compression routine in that space.

Bulk data storage by reversible tape drive.

BTW it's true the parabolic aerial radiates about 15W but radio engineers talk in term of EIRP, effective isentropic radiated power, which would be the power you would need to deliver the same energy density in the beam across the surface area of a whole sphere. That number is quite impressive because the beam is such a small fraction of a sphere.

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Pint

Re: It's an impressive feat.

"4Khz"

4 kHz.

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Happy

Re: It's an impressive feat.

Actually neither is correct.

Re-checking Computers in spaceflight, the NASA experience indicates the main cycle was 28 microseconds, or 35.714kHz. It's about 9% better than the Apollo AGC, which weighed about 90lbs (Voyagers was about 20lbs but only doubly redundant). Using COTS parts (albeit the rad hard SOS versions of 4000b parts) also probably made it a lot cheaper.

The 4kHz signal is something I read in an E&WW article and was described as the "heartbeat" but the NSA book describes it as being about 0.5-1 Hz.

TTFN

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Alien

JPL is raining on this paper and author's parade

See http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-107. A very dry and not very informative press release written by some bureaucrat droid, but JPL and the Voyager project's official position.

Wired's also being snarky about it, as they usually are. Though their point about how this is semantics is kind of how I feel about it. Everything the instruments see is brand new. We have never encountered this area of space before and it will be awhile before we do again, and even then I kind of doubt New Horizons will still be communicating 28 years from now, when its roughly the same age as Voyager-1. They don't build em like they used to. Hell, maybe I'm wrong, maybe it'll beat the odds and work better than the Voyagers in relative terms I strongly doubt it though.

But honestly, being conservative about things that humanity has never encountered before, only speculated and theorized about would probably the better course of action and if the people who work on this thing at the very least weekly say they aren't seeing what they're expecting when they are truly into interstellar space, I'm kind of inclined to listen to them. It just amazes me they aren't hyping it to try and seek more money.

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Pint

Re: JPL is raining on this paper and author's parade

"It just amazes me they aren't hyping it to try and seek more money."

They're too busy hyping asteroid DOOM on the back of the Russian impact. As we know from watching the news: People are more motivated and enraptured by fear than they are by curiosity.

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Coat

Re: JPL is raining on this paper and author's parade

> People are more motivated and enraptured by fear than they are by curiosity.

So, that's solved the problem of the name for the next Mars rover, then

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Pint

Re: JPL is raining on this paper and author's parade

I'd certainly want a multi-ton nuclear powered tank with a laser, named 'Doom!' on Mars, rather than my living room!

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Happy

Will it just eventually hit a black wall painted with stars and go "Tink"?

Just like Truman Show?

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Happy

Been done already: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forever-Free-Joe-Haldeman/dp/1857989317

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For that I prefer to think of Philip Jose Farmer's "World of Tiers" series. The title of the first, "Maker of Universes", rather gives the game away.

In that case, it wouldn't hit a wall and go <tink>, it would hit the surrounding field that provides the impression of squillions of lightyears of shit, all packed into a few metres and be vapourised. We've still got a bit of a wait though, that was a light-year or so out IIRC.

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"For that I prefer to think of"

Frankly, I would gladly think of ANYTHING other than Forever Free. It was appalling.

Which is a shame, because The Forever War is to me the finest piece of sci-fi that I've ever read.

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> The Forever War is to me the finest piece of sci-fi that I've ever read.

Yes, I read it as a teenager. Been afraid to reread it in case it wasn't as good as I remembered, but maybe I should.

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