Voyager 2 Penetrates Interstellar Space

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by The Night Funky, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    It becomes only the second object to do so.
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  2. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Science. It works, bitches!!
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  3. Amaris

    Amaris Princess of Love

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    Two wandering souls carrying the thoughts of billions, the hopes of its progenitors indwelt in the hardware, their unseen hands reaching out into the vast loneliness, seeking out the hands of others who are lonely, believing themselves to be alone in the cold and darkness.
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  4. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    I wonder if humanity will ever get to the point that it will be a trivial matter to go out, retrieve the Voyagers, and put them in a museum. Or if they'll still be out there 100,000 years from now, quietly speeding on toward parts unknown, while we humans have exited the stage.
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  5. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    One can imagine a ferocious debate at some distant future point over that very issue. "We should recover them!" "We should leave them be as a legacy of the past!"
    :thelurker:
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  6. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    I think recovering them an putting them in a museum would be dreadful. Let them keep going.

    The report that I listened to last night seemed to suggest that NASA was a little equivocal about defining where they are as interstellar space. I'm not sure there's a clear definition of what that is.

    Anyway, I personally think that the Voyager program is more impressive and important than the moon landings. It doesn't get the credit it deserves.
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  7. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    hey come on! I realize this is about science, but lay off the technical jargon! Many of us are just laymen, not pros.
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  8. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    If we have the technology that we could easily retrieve them for a museum, it negates the need to do so. It's not like they are suffering wear and tear out there, they will be preserved better than any conditions we could give them on Earth.

    Imagine the symbolism the Voyagers could have in a true interstellar age. Not dusty industrial relics in a museum, brought up close so you can see archaic riveting in person, but an ongoing reach out from the past. A connection to the early age when humans first started to see the night sky as a place rather than a thing.
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  9. We Are Borg

    We Are Borg Rey of sunshine

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    Fucking awful idea.
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  10. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Why? It's not like they would achieve anything new, and they'll just be lost and forgotten about.
    But, eventually, forgotten by everyone. Once their power source dies out, they're just so much debris floating in interstellar space.
    If they're lost in interstellar space and forgotten, symbolic to whom? The occasional reader of a history boo--, er, tablet?
    If humans ever reach the point where we could go and get them (and didn't), they'd be little more than an occasional curiosity to those who venture out that way ("Imagine...Voyager 2's out here...somewhere...") or those who are really into space history (Quick: how much can you tell me about Explorer 1? How "inspired" would you be by it if it still existed?), with little meaning for people back on Earth.
    Why? If we could (relatively) easily retrieve them, wouldn't they serve a more meaningful and inspirational role by being where people could look on them, appreciate them, and reflect on a more primitive time, rather than being lost in deep space and forgotten about, routinely surpassed by faster probes and (perhaps) vehicles?

    I say again: once they die, they're not going to accomplish anything more other than just continuing to float along. As such, they will soon be forgotten about. They will not even reach any place interesting for tens of thousands of years (not that any human being will be aware of it when that happens). And let's get real: they are NEVER going to be encountered by intelligent alien life, even if such exists.

    The only value they have left once their power dies is historical. And that purpose would be better served in a museum. :shrug:
  11. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    You're welcome to your opinion, but I think the vast majority would disagree. Maybe a couple of people in a hundred can tell what the Voyagers did ("I think it was, like, a Star Trek show or something..."), but everyone who was alive and aware in 1969 knew about the moon landings, it makes all the history books, and we continue to talk about it today (just yesterday, a basketball player made headlines for being skeptical the moon landings happened...). It involved people going somewhere and so was far, far more inspirational. And technologically, the moon landings were far more daunting.
  12. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    for some reason I thought about this......SPOILER ALERT! what will they do next? Head to the unemployment line, the show bit the dust like a North Korean ICBM.

    e1ctWiJZNoT57q6QHv4CG18cEAF.jpg
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  13. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    nstw2.gif

    But so am I. Because...I liked that show. :sob:
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  14. We Are Borg

    We Are Borg Rey of sunshine

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    ST:TMP disagrees!
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  15. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    Fucking Klingons. Shoot first, ask later.

    upload_2018-12-11_16-10-43.png 100

    I know, it's Pioneer 10. Still total lack of respect.
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  16. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    We're still only up to Voyager 2. That was Voyager 6. :bailey:
    The really troubling thing is that, by the 23rd Century, Pioneer 10 will only be about 5 minutes from Earth at maximum warp.
  17. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    If it's a matter of public awareness or popularity, of course the Apollo missions win. That's kind of the point I'm making.

    I would be interested in any information on either of them being "more technologically daunting" though.
  18. spot261

    spot261 George "The Animal" Steele tribute act

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    It'll be back in a few centuries, just you watch

    EDIT; damn, should have read the thread first :danceforme:
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  19. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    If the probes are dead and just floating out there and if we one day have the ability to find them and bring them back than I say do it.

    The argument to leave them out there is stupid. It's not like they are doing anything once they are dead.

    I think finding them would be the hardest part.

    Also they do suffer wear and tear. Even in space. It's very slow wear and tear of course but it happens.
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  20. spot261

    spot261 George "The Animal" Steele tribute act

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    Strangely I prefer the latter option, or even better that we do advance but leave them alone, their progress being a point of curiosity and honoured much as we honour historical monuments today.
  21. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    We could have cruise spaceships go out to them.

    “Trip to Voyager One and Back.”
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  22. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Let's take a hypothetical here. Say that humanity develops something like warp drive 200 years from now. Snagging at least one of the probes would have considerable value, both from a historic, as well as scientific, perspective. The historic perspective would be, of course, having an artifact from such a long time ago, and being able to study exactly how it was made. We learn oodles about life in the 19th Century every time we bring up a shipwreck from that time period, the same would be true of the Voyagers. Future humans would learn a lot about manufacturing techniques in the 20th Century by studying them. From the scientific perspective, there would be even more to gain. For example, the probes didn't get the same kind of decontamination treatments that things like the Viking landers did (which were launched during the same decade). So they've got bacteria on them. What happened to it? Did it survive? What kind of bacteria is on it? Is it the same kind of bacteria found on Earth in the 23rd Century? If it's different, what's different about it and why? Then there's the long-term exposure to space. Did the materials hold up as well as expected? How did the materials change in response to their exposure to conditions away from Earth for so long? Can we detect things from their trips around the solar system? If there are particles from say, Io, on them, are they similar to particles from Io now or are they different? Did the Plutonium in the RTGs decay as expected? If not, why not? Mind you, those are only the kinds of questions we can ask now. Future researchers will be able to ask more questions than we can because technology will have advanced much farther by then. Darwin couldn't have imagined the kinds of things we can both do and know about genetics that we do now.

    It really depends upon where you want to draw the line. What Voyager 2 has done is to cross from the heliosphere into the heliopause. This is the boundary where cosmic rays begin to have a greater influence than the rays from the sun. It's not really a hard line, it's sort of like day transitioning into night. You've got the period of dusk in between, and it can last a variable amount of time, depending upon the time of year and atmospheric conditions. Another definition of where interstellar space begins would be at the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, which is half a light year from Earth, and Voyager has something like 400 more years to go before it hits the inner edge (and then some 4,000 years before it passes through it).

    However, were it not for Apollo, there probably wouldn't have been any Voyager missions. NASA was putting together proposals for follow-ups to the various unmanned probes we'd sent to the Moon, and various planets in the solar system. The idea was that if any of the planets looked interesting enough to send humans out there, the various probes would discover this. While calculating the various orbits of the planets, one of the researchers realized that the planets would soon come into an alignment which meant that a probe could quite easily do a flyby of the gas giants in the system. So, instead of having to launch a probe for each of the planets, you could get more bang for the buck by sending one probe to all 4, provided you launched by a certain date. Much of the tech involved in both planning the missions as well as building the probes owes it's existence to the Apollo program.
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  23. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    Call me naive but isn't that stuff documented, even from 19th century? Interesting points though.
  24. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Just to consider one dimension:

    The Voyagers launched on existing Titan rockets.

    The Apollo missions launched on Saturn Vs, still the biggest and most powerful launch vehicles ever created, which were engineered and built for Apollo.
  25. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Not really. I mean, there's probably documentation that XYZ part was made with a Bridgeport milling machine, with an HSS cutter, but that doesn't actually tell you as much as you might think. For example, if the milling machine has a current fluxation while it's operating, this can change the way it cuts the material. That can have an impact on how long the material lasts, or how it reacts to the environment. Also, they may not have recorded the speed at which the machine was running when it cut the material. That can determine the kind of finish the material had, as well as what the actual capabilities of the machine were. Also, just because the paperwork says that the part was cut with a Bridgeport, doesn't mean that it actually was. They may have used a JET mill, instead. Finally, ya remember in Trek how Scotty says ya need to bullshit on how long it'll take you to do something (see ST III and the TNG episode Relics)? Speaking from personal experience in the manufacturing industry (and, yes, I have helped design things that are in space), you always lie about how long it'll take to do something, and what a thing is capable of. NASA engineers are cut from the same cloth as Scotty. They told everybody that the Spirit and Opportunity rovers would only last 90 days, but Spirit lasted 6 years, while Opportunity lasted 14 years. The folks who built them knew that they would last a long time, but they picked a low number so that no matter how much longer the rovers lasted beyond their official lifespan, they could brag about how awesome they were.

    I don't know how dedicated to accuracy the folks at the British Museum are, but when the folks at the Smithsonian Museum restore something, if they can't find an original part, they find the original kind of machine (down to the brand and model number) that the part was made with and use that. Sure, they could make a replacement part faster, that is just as good (if not better) with conventional equipment, but that part would have all kinds of subtle difference that wouldn't be found in something made by the original machine. Even then, the replacement part is probably going to be better than the original, simply because the power supplied to the machine is going to be better now than what it was when the part was made. That's how dedicated people are, who are involved in restoring things from the past.
  26. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    Not always.

    Plus stuff gets lost through time. In Tuckerfans 200 year example we have no idea what will happen between now and 200 years. A lot of things could be lost to history.
  27. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    Like this thread, 200 years from now it will be gone.