Yes but wow
42 years and 18.5 billion kilometres.
Don't make 'em like they used to.
Probably needs an oil change.
Welcome to this week's space roundup, with news of a hello to a resurrected instrument, a heart-stopping moment for an old friend and a final farewell to a teenage telescope. Voyager 2 gives Earthbound engineers a bit of a fright Something funny happened over the weekend as one of NASA's veteran Voyager probes inadvertently …
"That's coz it's not running W10"
Microsoft, which probably consisted of just Bill Gates and a couple of buddies at the time, if it even existed as a company at all in 1976 when the probes were being built, hadn't even yet considered ripping off the GUI from Apple, where Woz was still breathing solder fumes in a garage. And it would be some years yet before the Steves thought to steal it from Xerox, who had only just come up with it about 2-3 years prior. Ol' Bill was probably still working on Commodore BASIC for the first gen PET when the probes were being built..
I still envision an alternate history where X86 was only a bit player and we're all using Commodore-compatible instead of IBM-compatible machines.
I was just shy of my 9th birthday when Voyager 2 launched and it's still going now.
I am gobsmacked at this achievement of longevity and still helping science.
I honestly don't believe it would be possible for us to produce such an amazing piece of technology now.
Beers because, those people that built it and still run it deserver free beer for life.
"I honestly don't believe it would be possible for us to produce such an amazing piece of technology now.
Well, the Mars probes were and continue to be pretty robust. But I share your viewpoint. IMHO mostly because there is apparently a 2nd Moore's law that relates to bureaucracy and red tape, and we haven't yet topped out on how funding, people failing upwards, lack of communication, and other staples of management can destroy a project so fast that all that remains is the Cherenkov radiation from its abrupt cancellation.
> I honestly don't believe it would be possible for us to produce such an amazing piece of technology now.
I think we still could, but the bean counters would veto it. Manufacturers have simply removed the factor "robustness" from the equation because it was anti-commercial: If your car (or whatever other appliance) doesn't break down in a couple years, you won't buy a new one, and since many people feel the need to always have the latest and shiniest (to show off to the Joneses), nobody complains.
As a result, all industries have unlearned to build robust, reliable things. Robustness is not a perk, it's a defect nowadays, it will literally lower your sales.
"Manufacturers have simply removed the factor "robustness" from the equation because it was anti-commercial [...]"
The Crosby Quality programme was often implemented by PHBs as meaning a design must not be "over engineered". This resulted in tight designs that could not be adjusted later for unforeseen complications or changed market requirements. Open-ended design was discouraged - even though it often proved to be the saving grace for a project.
It is amazingly designed. That it can make its own decisions about what to turn off and what to turn on to keep power draw low is really astounding. I’m sure we could design something today like it though. We wouldn’t use current technology of course in terms of processors - we would use something reliable and proven I’m sure.
just as I selected Voyager 2 as the endpoint.
Kudos to the team at NASA. We now know about the heliopause, and are getting real data from interstellar space. That and the data we are getting from ESA's Gaia telescope means we are learning so much about our galaxy that in 2000 you would never have thought possible!
A beer to all that have made these projects happen!
I went to a lecture last night given by one of the guys whose life's work so far has been working out what happens to these ugly bags of mostly-water when we take them away from Earth's gravity for weeks, months or years at a time. Will we even make it as far as Mars? How long can we stay there for? How long SHOULD we stay there for? Can we really have a permanent crewed base on the moon? Can we even bring crew back safely and plunge them suddenly into Earth's gravity after prolonged exposure to zero G? NASA are continuing to work on space exploration programmes many decades long. Gripping stuff.
"NASA are continuing to work on space exploration programmes many decades long."
It would also be useful if politicians remembered that spaceship Earth also needs those considerations for its future as a meat-bag carrier. Trashing one planet before moving to another is short-sighted.
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