back to article Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday

Yesterday saw the 41st anniversary of Voyager 1’s launch from the Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 41 – and SpaceX fire up its next Falcon 9 at the neighbouring Launch Complex 40 pad. Launched just after its twin, Voyager 2, the spacecraft was sent on NASA’s Grand Tour of the solar system, scooting past Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn …

  1. Joeman

    13.3 billion miles (21.4 million km)

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      But how far is it in linguine?

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Whatever...

        Regardless of the units, my mind boggles that a machine built by humans, is now over 13,300,000,000 miles from our planet, and is still talking to us. When I was born, no-one had sent a machine more than a few miles from the ground. How far can we. as a species, go?

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Whatever...

          "13,300,000,000 miles from our planet, and is still talking to us.

          The anti-nuke crowd must be livid as they can't there to protest the RTG power supply it uses.

    2. Tweetiepooh
      Joke

      Ah the metric million!!

    3. imanidiot Silver badge
      Facepalm

      If they'd messed up the short and long scale billion that'd be understandable, but this is just sloppy El Reg...

      And it's:

      152891136912288.78 lg

      2321809216587.529 ddbs

      973828897530.5018 bsl

      Give or take a linguine or two probably

    4. Dagg
      Headmaster

      Long or Short

      Long billion 10**12 or short billion 10**9. Since the 1950s the short scale has been increasingly used in technical writing and journalism, so this has to be assumed as the short billion.

      Now approx 1.6 km per mile, so 13.3 billion miles is (13.3 * 1.6) billion km. No idea where you got 21.4 million km from....

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Long or Short

        "No idea where you got 21.4 million km from...."

        It's almost as though two similar-sounding words that differ only by a single letter can occasionally be accidentally substituted for one another when writing. It's a shame this is such rare occurrence that we haven't invented a word to describe such typos.

  2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Pint

    There will never be enough beer for the people behind Voyager.------>

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Pint

      True! As a teenager, I followed all the Mariner, Pioneer, Viking, and Voyager projects, after being completely captivated by the Apollo project earlier in my youth. I feel forever in their debt

  3. Belperite
    Alien

    V'ger

    I'm sure I saw a documentary about what will happen to that probe once. Perhaps we should launch a mission to retrieve it?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: V'ger

      I propose a 5 year span for the mission.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: V'ger

      Just don't put a woman in charge, last time that happened they took a wrong turn at DS9 and got lost for 10 years the deep space equivalent of Lincolnshire!

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: V'ger

        Then let's not mention what would happen if you put a man in charge of it.

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/7755988/Women-give-better-directions-than-men-study-finds.html

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Women-give-better-directions-than-men

          O'Reilly ?

          From bitter experience, women are very good at adding all sorts of irrelevant details to the directions ... I mean "carry on until you get to the A454, turn left, 500 yards, your're there" is succinct. You don't need to know about any roundabouts, superstores, churches, or other landmarks on the way.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Women-give-better-directions-than-men

            "You don't need to know about any roundabouts, superstores, churches, or other landmarks on the way."

            Depends on what sort of navigator you are. Some people navigate better with landmarks than with dead reckoning.

            "carry on until you get to the A454, turn left, 500 yards, your're there"

            Your example includes a landmark, the A454. A superstore might be a tad more obviously visible than a street sign that says "A454".

          2. Just Enough

            Re: Women-give-better-directions-than-men

            "carry on until you get to the A454, turn left, 500 yards, your're there"

            Which road will I be on to get to the A454?

            Will it say A454 on the sign, or will it be the name of the road, or the name of the town it leads to?

            How far do I go until I reach the A454? 1 mile? 50? 100? How will I know if I've missed it if I've no idea how far to go?

            Do I turn left on the A454? Or turn left onto the A454? Or is the left turn simply at the same place as the A454 ?

            Your succinct directions suck.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: V'ger

        "Just don't put a woman in charge" ... please remind me, which gender couldn't convert from metric to imperial measurements when landing on Mars?

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: V'ger

          And you don’t need to remind me who did the calculations on early flights, that did reach the correct destination

          https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/researchernews/rn_kjohnson.html

      3. arctic_haze Silver badge

        Re: V'ger

        Put in charge an Artificial Intelligence.

        What can go wrong?

        1. Usermane

          Re: V'ger

          Have you seen Star Trek The Movie, when the crew of the Enterprise finds a Voyager?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: V'ger

        > Just don't put a woman in charge

        Just for your info, what might have seemed funny to some audiences in a 1950s American sitcom doesn't come across as particularly witty or imaginative in 2018.

        But you must know that, otherwise you wouldn't have bothered to go anonymous for this one.

        1. 404 Silver badge

          Re: V'ger

          Please don't faint, but that was good up into the 1990's.

          It went:

          1950's: Bam, zoom, straight to the moon physical abuse of women.

          1960's: James Bond slayed more female sex symbols than you could shake a stick at... Hippies, free love.

          1970's: James Bond still swinging it, Disco, Son of Sam, etc.

          1980's: Weird Science: creating female sex slaves and ballistic missiles in adolescent boys bedrooms... With Computers & Modems.

          1990's: Everybody is Fucking. Even Bill Clinton.

          2000's: Age of the Offended. Yet everybody is fucking.

          Main theme throughout all is everybody is getting laid and laughing at the same shit - except maybe in front of you.

    3. David Knapman

      Re: V'ger

      Unfortunately, that's Voyager 6 which we were meant to launch in the late 20th century but we haven't gotten around to launching yet.

    4. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: V'ger

      @Belperite

      We don't need to retrieve it. As you can see in that same documentary, it is programmed to return to Earth on its own once its data banks are full or it starts having an existential crisis about how it knows all, but why doesn't that make it happy?

      Whichever comes first....

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: existential crisis about how it knows all, but why doesn't that make it happy?

        I believe that's due to the pain in its diodes down its left side.

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: existential crisis about how it knows all, but why doesn't that make it happy?

          "I believe that's due to the pain in its diodes down its left side."

          .

          Now the world has gone to bed,

          Darkness won't engulf my head,

          I can see in infrared,

          How I hate the night.

          .

          Now I lay me down to sleep,

          Try to count electric sheep,

          Sweet dream wishes you can keep,

          How I hate the night.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: V'ger

        "We don't need to retrieve it. As you can see in that same documentary, it is programmed to return to Earth on its own once its data banks are full or it starts having an existential crisis about how it knows all, but why doesn't that make it happy?"

        Is there going to be a mandate that it will have to have its own toilet provided at all public facilities?

    5. shaunhw

      Re: V'ger

      @Alien

      " V'ger

      I'm sure I saw a documentary about what will happen to that probe once. Perhaps we should launch a mission to retrieve it"

      No No! We have to leave it out there for some aliens to soup it up, (hopefully without using any Microsoft stuff on it) and then for Captain Kirk to find it.

      It is so written!

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Rich 2

    Voyager

    I thought Voyager 2 was launched before Voyager 1. But Voyager 1 was faster, hence it overtook V2.

    And just to confuse things, V2 was originally going to be V1, but there was a last minute hitch with V1 (or was it V2?) so NASA swapped them over.

    Confused?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Voyager

      Surely Voyager 0 should be first ?

      That's what happens when you let FORTRAN programmers build things

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Voyager

        "Surely Voyager 0 should be first ?"

        No, Voyager 0 should be zeroth.

      2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Voyager

        "That's what happens when you let FORTRAN programmers build things"

        Whereas Pascal programmers could simply choose which one would be first, as in

        CONST First = 42, Last = 43;

        VAR Voyager : ARRAY [First .. Last] OF SPACEPROBE ;

        and given that there are just 2 Voyagers, they might have gone for Voyager FALSE, to be followed by Voyager TRUE (or actually Voyager[FALSE] and Voyager[TRUE]), which would have been really, really WRONG

        I'll get me coat. The one with Jensen and Wirth's "Pascal User Manual and Report" in the pocket. please

  6. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Telstar

    It's great to find that name still in use, but now my head's filled with warbly electric organ music.

    1. Marcus000

      Re: Telstar

      [

      Telstar. It's great to find that name still in use, but now my head's filled with warbly electric organ music.]

      Argh! Now my head is filled with warbly electric organ music!

      M

      1. Stuart 22
        Pint

        Re: Telstar

        T'other one celebrating 56.15890410958 or so years since launch day. Or to put into user friendly terms almost 11.2317808219 Welsh Assembly terms.

        Time to raise 56.826125 cl of that ---->

        [Sorry, I spilt the rest]

      2. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Telstar

        "[Telstar. It's great to find that name still in use, but now my head's filled with warbly electric organ music.]

        "Argh! Now my head is filled with warbly electric organ music!"

        I kinda like warbly electric organ music.

      3. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Telstar

        [

        Telstar. It's great to find that name still in use, but now my head's filled with warbly electric organ music.]

        Argh! Now my head is filled with warbly electric organ music!

        M

        And with that timely reminder, I'm now listening to the Mahna Mahna song ('coz I like it)

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Telstar

          Dee, dee dee, dee dee dee dee dee dee dee, dum dum dum dum, da da da da da da, dee dee dee dee dee dee, da da, diddle dee dee

          And don't get me started on the key-pace change in the middle. Awesome music if only 'cos it reminds me of my Dad.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Menah Menah

          For those who don't know, it's right here.

          And, if you're still interested after that, please view the greatest, all-time best Muppet sketch here.

          Ah, the Muppets. Good times.

          P.S. : This one is a pretty good runner-up to the title of all-time greatest.

          1. Hedgehog Spen

            Re: Menah Menah

            I respectfully submit this as a contender...

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgbNymZ7vqY

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Menah Menah

              This is my fave, sorry I couldn't find a better quality version on YouTube.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3gIf16d0Tc

              1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

                Re: Menah Menah

                I think my favourite is the Koozebanian Mating Ritual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbXzpoH6m2c

      4. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Telstar

        {

        [

        Telstar. It's great to find that name still in use, but now my head's filled with warbly electric organ music.]

        Argh! Now my head is filled with warbly electric organ music!

        M

        }

        Mine too

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Actually that name is still widely in use

      Imagine a socker ball, then look at this Wikipedia page:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adidas_Telstar

  7. Tony Jarvie

    3.6AU per year

    That sounds impressively fast, but when I worked it out (please check my maths here!) it's approximately: 334640906 miles (according to Google's conversion). Divide by around 365.25 days per year = 916,197 miles per day. Divide by 24 hours per day, and that's around 38,174 miles per hour. The ISS goes around about 17,500 mph so it's only twice as fast as the ISS, roughly speaking. (I'm assuming that the 3.4AU is approximate and that 365.25 is close enough for a year's duration). I honestly thought it would be going faster than that.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: 3.6AU per year

      But it's been decelerating since it was going its fastest. Didn't it pick up Jupiter's and Saturn's orbital velocity on a couple of slingshots?

      1. Tony Jarvie

        Re: 3.6AU per year

        How much is it decelerating by? Since it's in (mostly) vacuum, there wouldn't be much in the way of friction against other particles. And I wouldn't think collisions with micro-meteorites, etc. would make much of a dent in its speed. Other parts of it, yes, but not its speed! The sun's rays would presumably push it along by a tiny amount, collisions from behind by other space particles might do the same slightly, but unless it's been slowed down a lot by hitting the heliosheath / edge of the healioshpere, then what's been slowing it down? Oh, and the slingshots around planets (which the ISS obviously hasn't benefited from unless you count its orbit as a permanent slingshot around Earth) is another reason why I'd have thought it would be a lot faster than twice ISS's speed.

        1. Paul Kinsler

          Re: How much is it decelerating by?

          Perhaps we might ask Isaac Newton? He's probably got a theory...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How much is it decelerating by?

            Perhaps we might ask Isaac Newton? He's probably got a theory...

            ISAAC NEWTON IS DEAD! DEAD! COMPLETELY STONE COLD 6 FOOT DOWN EX BOFFIN / COIN MINTER

            (Fox breaking news ticker)

            1. Scott Pedigo
              Joke

              Re: How much is it decelerating by?

              > ISAAC NEWTON IS DEAD! DEAD! COMPLETELY STONE COLD 6 FOOT DOWN EX BOFFIN / COIN MINTER

              Dammit, in that case, maybe we could ask Frederick Douglas.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How much is it decelerating by?

            Nah, he's dead try a relative.

        2. defiler Silver badge

          Re: 3.6AU per year

          then what's been slowing it down?

          Throw a rock in the air. It rises slower and slower, hangs in the air, and then speeds up again as it falls. And then it stops when it hits you. More or less the same with orbital mechanics. Long story short, the lowest point on an orbit is the fastest, highest point is the slowest. Trading speed for height, effectively.

          I'll refer you to a wonderful computer-based training course called Kerbal Space Program. 30 quid on Steam, and a lot of hours of fun. Runs on Linux too, if that's your bag.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: 3.6AU per year

            Throw a rock in the air. It rises slower and slower, hangs in the air, and then speeds up again as it falls.

            Unless it achieves escape velocity. But, yeah, it will have been subject to gravity from the sun and the larger planets since the last flyby manoeuvre, though I suspect the effects are now negligible.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: 3.6AU per year

              If you lob the stone at exactly escape velocity, then it will eventually become stationary when it reaches infinity.

              Lob it slower and it comes back before infinity.

              Lob it faster, and it goes to infinity - and beyond!

              So yes, it is slowing down but it will never stop.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 3.6AU per year

      > so it's only twice as fast as the ISS

      But it is straight line speed that matters.

      Voyager was built in America so it can't do corners

      ISS was an international collaboration so it goes round in circles very very fast but doesn't get anywhere

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: 3.6AU per year

      The ISS goes around about 17,500 mph

      That's angular velocity. It's not moving at all relative to earth's orbit, which is what AU refers to.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: 3.6AU per year

        That's angular velocity. It's not moving at all relative to earth's orbit, which is what AU refers to.

        AU is a distance, and linear speeds can thus be expressed as AU over time_interval. Angular velocity is how much of an arc an object covers in a certain amount of time, so radians, or degrees, over time_interval. The ISS whizzing along at 17500 mph (7820m/s, 1.65AU/year) is its orbital speed.

        1. Dr Paul Taylor

          Re: 3.6AU per year

          It's only a bit more than half of the orbital speed of the Earth, which is of course 2pi AU per year.

          (Why am I not allowed to include HTML symbols like π ?)

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: 3.6AU per year

            You want some pi? Here's one I prepared earlier - π, you gotta bake them right.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3.6AU per year

      ok, checking your maths...

      100 million x 3.5 -> 350 million / 350 -> 1 million / 25 -> 40,000 mph

      so yeah, close enough for t'internet

    6. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: 3.6AU per year

      That sounds impressively fast, but when I worked it out (please check my maths here!) it's approximately: 334640906 miles (according to Google's conversion).

      Bah, Google. Doesn't even know about El Reg Standard Units.

      rik@argus201s:~$ units

      Currency exchange rates from www.timegenie.com on 2016-06-21

      2954 units, 109 prefixes, 88 nonlinear units

      You have: 3.6AU/year

      You want: km/s

      * 17.066058

      / 0.058595839

      You have: 3.6AU/year

      You want: VSheepVac

      * 0.0028467153

      / 351.28206

    7. Peter Ford

      Re: 3.6AU per year

      As my wife has just pointed out, 3.6 isn't much more than pi, so 3.6 AU per year is only slightly faster than the speed the Earth is travelling around the sun...

    8. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

      Stellar realestate

      It's not the velocity that matters, it's location, location, location. The big achievement is climbing out of the Sun's gravity well. Add that potential energy back in to an Earth-orbit, and you will see just how blazing fast 38000 mph _at that location_ really is...

  8. Ulaavi
    Coat

    Land where?

    Am I the only one who thought SpaceX was going to land on Voyager 1?

    Now that ....

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge
      WTF?

      Re: Land where?

      You're not the only one

      I was trying to work out if V'ger 1's trajectory had brought it back round to Earth or something

      1. Dr. G. Freeman

        Re: Land where?

        Voyager's trajectory will bring it back to Earth, someday.

        It's just just going the long way round

        1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

          Re: Land where?

          Voyager's trajectory will bring it back to Earth, someday.

          It's just just going the long way round

          ... not if the Borg intercept it first. They'll know where we are, how to get there and they'll realise they've got a massive potential payout for deformation of character by those nasty Hollywoodians on Earth...

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Land where?

            They'll know where we are, how to get there and they'll realise they've got a massive potential payout for deformation of character by those nasty Hollywoodians on Earth...

            Hollywood panel beaters? I predict several first contact scenarios. Trump will start a trade war. May will depart on a trade visit. Ok, so some of that may be wishful thinking. Meanwhile, engineers can explain how Borg spacecraft could be optimised by cutting a few corners.

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Land where?

              "Meanwhile, engineers can explain how Borg spacecraft could be optimised by cutting a few corners."

              So they'll turn Borg cubes into Borg spheres? I guess that makes them more aerodynamic than bricks.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Land where?

                So they'll turn Borg cubes into Borg spheres? I guess that makes them more aerodynamic than bricks.

                And then Apple's lawyers can sue them for having rounded corners! Or the design of Apple's new 'office' becomes more apparent as a Borg docking station. Some thought it was the pyramids, the fools..

        2. Raging Bool

          Re: Land where?

          "switching to long, long, long range sensors" - Kryten.

    2. Velv Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Land where?

      They’ve already flung a Tesla Rodster at it...

    3. holmegm

      Re: Land where?

      That was my first thought too! Dang headlines ...

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Land where?

      Land where?

      Am I the only one who thought SpaceX was going to land on Voyager 1?

      Now that ....

      What's that now? Space-X are sending up something to mate with Voyager?

      Is Stephen Collins still up to it?

    5. Bibbit

      Re: Land where?

      Ditto.

    6. FreeRadical

      Re: Land where?

      Nope, that's the first image the title instills in my mind...thought it must be an error in wording

    7. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Land where?

      They need to land the car on a road this time.

  9. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Happy

    well

    blowing my ever so small trumpet,

    A very comact piece of control and instrumentation code I wrote for part of a somewhat novel (at the tme) monitoring system for an industrial machine is still being used unchanged on the five original installs 31 years later - an output of a PhD project. Subsequently rewritten (mine was coded in 6502 assembly) for new incantations that I believe process aircraft turbine blades, it seems to be still running, remarkably. I can only presum,e that the machines were repurposed for other similar processing and being dumb and simple no changes were seen to be necessary for what are no longer safety critical systems.

    From a conversation about 10 years ago, they were still running on the same hardware . Spares have been laid down.

    The softwa, if not the hardware was a test stufy in what might be done in more formal verification.

    1. PerlyKing
      Go

      Re: Rewritten for "new incantations"

      What are you, a software wizard? ;-)

      1. Florida1920 Silver badge

        Re: Rewritten for "new incantations"

        What are you, a software wizard? ;-)
        That has to be a twist.

        But his supple wrist seems to have problems with the keyboard.

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: Rewritten for "new incantations"

          What are you, a software wizard? ;-)

          That has to be a twist.

          But his supple wrist seems to have problems with the keyboard.

          I don't know

          but he sure plays a mean Windows 2000 Pinball.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well

      My oldest application still running and in use is 20 years old - although it doesn't run anything so critical. It's a museum system (that's why probably it lasted so long...).

      It was originally written on NT4, and now is working on 7. Unluckily, it will soon be replaced by a WordPress (!) based application, made by a fashionable hipster company. I wish them good luck....

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: well

        My oldest application still running and in use is 20 years old

        My oldest extant application for a surviving system (a set of perl scripts managing a contact directory) would have been 20 years old this month if I hadn't completely rewritten it in another language last year. I'd been trying to get round to a rewrite for seven years, but you know how it goes: somehow there was always something a bit more urgent to do.

        1. Wapiya

          Re: well

          Hmm,

          I do not know if this counts. But my oldest still running code was written during my practice semester while going for my electrical engineering degree. The company needed something to filter the signal to the Inmarsat satellite according to Inmarsat specs. I was the fresh face and told to mull about a solution for this new fangled requirements as I had just done the tests for the underlying math.

          After some sleepless nights I found an obvious solution. I just needed the information of some future and past bits.

          I went to the department head, proposed the solution and to my surprise he went to legal to start the paperwork for a patent application. The (small) royalties stopped a few years ago due to the patent expiring. But the code (written in gate logic, later VHDL) is still in use in their ASICs. The code is more than 25 years old.

        2. cNova

          Re: well

          My oldest application still running was:

          10 PRINT "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

          20 GOTO 10

          On my high school's 1970's HP 1000 teletype. That is, unless it's run out of paper by now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well

      Apparently writing software for military kit or avionics is one way of getting multiple decades of runtime. That stuff hangs around for ages. Airbus's FBW system dates back to the 1980s. Bits of today's Ariane 5 were first used on Ariane 4, decades ago. I know that some computing systems on RN Type 42 destroyers were very ancient, even receiving a 1k memory upgrade in the 1990s (yep; ferrite core RAM). Might have been 4k, some of my own memory has been de-gaussed.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well

      Voyager 1 will eventually pass out of the range of NASA’s Deep Space Network in 2036, but will likely be silent by then.

      Shame, I thought it could at least wait until its 32-bit clock wraps around in 2038.

    5. Mark Exclamation

      Re: well

      "for new incantations that I believe process aircraft turbine blades...."

      I hope it wasn't for Rolls Royce Aero!

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: well

        I think they do LM as well - but hey, I just did the maths...... (and occasionally fly)

  10. Steve Cooper

    More power captain!

    I wonder if they could power up the camera one last time to take a photo? OK it might take until 2025 to download the photo but still could be interesting to literally see what it can see at the moment.

    1. Wapiya

      Re: More power captain!

      Nope, they had to reduce the heater below the rated temperature of the last functioning instrument in 2012 to have enough power.

      Sorry but they will even be unable to transmit much longer than 2025. The tape system used to replay stored data, when there is contact, will not be able to slow down to the availiable speed. The bandwidth is limited due to the weakness of the signal. Even if the adapt the DSN to receive at the recorders minimum speed at that range, the power budget might not be enough for the last instrument. And that does supply data about the edge of the solar system.

  11. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    JPL code still running after four decades

    I wonder if there's any IBM 1401 code still running (via nested emulators) on an IBM zSeries machine?

  12. Gene Cash Silver badge

    ITAR

    SpaceX is an "infamously tight-lipped company" because the US Gov't will give them an ass whipping over ITAR if they release any actual information.

    Indeed, there are European space companies making a living with products that are specifically not American-sourced and thus don't have to deal with ITAR.

    It's sad because I have fascinating space books from the '50s-'80s that have far more detail than anyone would show today.

    And we wonder why no one is excited about space today, when all you can talk about is boring stuff.

    1. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: ITAR

      Yeah like trying to find out how the air conditioning system on the space station works. Why would they keep that secret?

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge

    My oldest application still running and in use

    Do my apps for my Palm, written in 2002 and ported to my Android phone, count? This means I have continuous electronic banking records since 1998.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: My oldest application still running and in use

      I have relatively important email from 1994 through today - never know when you'll be called up to CYA...

    2. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: My oldest application still running and in use

      I wrote may accounts package in MS Access in 1990 which I still use. My brother and I wrote a production control system in MS Access in 1991 which is still in use.

  14. Dr_N Silver badge

    Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago. SpaceX hopes to land on it on Saturday

    Why are SpaceX running a mission to land on Voyager 1?

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago. SpaceX hopes to land on it on Saturday

      Elon thinks it would be cool, duh.

    2. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago. SpaceX hopes to land on it on Saturday

      Perhaps you should read through previous comments.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago. SpaceX hopes to land on it on Saturday

        Bof. :-p

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remeber "old code"

    The original Voyager was probably written in assembler - remember those days when you had to put comments in there to document it?

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Remeber "old code"

      Only amateurs documented with comments.....

  16. RobThBay

    Calling home

    I've always amazed that the signal reaches Earth from that distance. Aiming the antenna at the point where the Earth will be when the signal arrives here is incredible.

    1. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Calling home

      Incredible? yes, not credible? yes.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Calling home

      "I've always amazed that the signal reaches Earth from that distance. Aiming the antenna at the point where the Earth will be when the signal arrives here is incredible."

      You would get really awesome wi-fi reception if you were using one of NASA's 54 meter dishes. Even using those antennas, the signal from the Voyager spacecraft is still down in the weeds.

  17. mxtj

    NASA still in contact with V1 after 41 years and, here I can't connect to WIFI from ground floor to my bedroom properly.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Surely you can do better than 100kb/yr?

      kk, snide remark... my main wifi router is 70' away, thus the AP 10' ft away, in the other direction.

  18. JJKing Bronze badge
    Happy

    My best and only program.

    My only piece of code was combined with the other half produced by someone else 25½ years ago. She will finish her Double Masters degrees at the end of this year and I am very proud of my work.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: My best and only program.

      In due course half your code contribution will be discarded in the interest of the production of new products. And I'm sure you'll be just as pleased with the results. To help you celebrate...

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: My best and only program.

      My best and only program.

      My only piece of code was combined with the other half produced by someone else 25½ years ago. She will finish her Double Masters degrees at the end of this year and I am very proud of my work.

      Di you even get a T-Shirt out of it?

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: My best and only program.

      I created two forks of my code base, of which I'm rather proud. Although they generally run without problems, resource contention can occur.

  19. Winkypop Silver badge
    Flame

    Voyager 1's last 'thought' before finally going dark

    Did I leave the gas on?

    1. SonOfDilbert

      Re: Voyager 1's last 'thought' before finally going dark

      I actually thought that I'd left the gas on once. But I was only 20 minutes away form home so it wasn't really an issue to nip back to check. I hadn't.

  20. macaroo

    The space ship Enterpise with Jacque Picard at the helm recovered the Voyager space probe in an episode on TV. They wondered at the ancient technology employed by their ancestors on Earth.

  21. RGE_Master

    Am I the only one here who every single time he see's the name Voyager thinks of V'Ger from Star Trek....

  22. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    No math outside USA, China and Germany?

    Is it only the USA and Germany which bridge mathematics and science in school?

    The ISS is moving ~17,500mph because of orbital mechanics. If it was going slower, it will fall back to earth. If it was going a little faster, it would increase it's orbital altitude, if it was going much faster... say 25,000mph, it would escape earth's gravity.

    Consider how fast an object must be going to maintain earth orbit, then how fast something needs to go to escape earth's orbit. Finally, work how fast something must go to escape the grasp of the sun. Most objects don't decelerate due to friction, they decelerate from gravitational pull of a large object. Such as a large planet, star, etc.

    If you don't believe 35000mph is fast, perhaps you should consider just how fast it really is. If you were watching traffic on a road, in which the speed limit is 35000mph, you wouldn't see the traffic go by, and you couldn't turn your neck fast enough to keep up; even if you were 5000 feet from the road.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "JPL code still running after four decades. How's your Python looking?"

    Love the subheading >:)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MY python

    has been well ciphoned . Somebody had to say it

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