Friday, May 20, 2011

Voyager 1 & 2 Where Are They Now?

Voyager Spacecraft

Voyager 1 & 2 are currently traveling at over 37,000 mph (60,000 km/h) through space. The car-sized spacecraft are about 3 billion miles apart now and an incredible 11 billion miles (17 billion km) and 8 billion miles (14 billion km) from Earth.  Together their mission is the longest continuously operated space mission and have traveled farther than any man-made craft, they will soon enter what is called interstellar space.Interstellar space is the physical space within a galaxy not occupied by stars or their planetary systems.Both Spacecraft are expected to continue to operate for the next 25 to 30 years.
Click to enlarge.

Titan III E
The Voyager 1 aboard the Titan III/Centaur lifted off on September 5, 1977, joining its sister spacecraft, the Voyager 2, on a mission to the outer planets.

Voyager 2 Launch
Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977.

If they ever make contact with intelligent lifeforms during their journey, they each have 1 golden disc to tell our human story to whomever or whatever finds them.

Gold Plated Copper
The Voyager Golden Record.

Gold Plated Copper
Cover of the Voyager Golden Record.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. The Voyager spacecraft are not heading towards any particular star, but Voyager 1 will be within 1.6 light years of the star AC+79 3888 in the Ophiuchus constellation in about 40,000 years.
As the probes are extremely small compared to the vastness of interstellar space, the probability of a space faring civilization encountering them is very small, especially since the probes will eventually stop emitting any kind of electromagnetic radiation. If they are ever found by an alien species, it will most likely be far in the future as the nearest star on Voyager 1's trajectory will only be reached in 40,000 years.
As Carl Sagan (1934-1996) noted, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet."Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement rather than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

1 comment:

  1. The signals traveling at the speed of light now take 13 hours one way to reach Earth from Voyager 2, and 16 hours one way from Voyager 1. To help put the distance into perspective; typical signals from Mars missions take 10 minutes one way. The signals are now so feint that they require the largest antennas on Earth to track them...................From