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Are we about to lose Voyager 2?

by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 6, 2010 9:52 PM PDT
Voyager 2's flight data system, which formats information before beaming it back to Earth, has experienced a hiccup that altered the pattern in which it sends updates home.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 was the spacecraft that did the full tour of the solar system, visiting Jupiter, Saturn, (where Voyager 1 separated and went it's own way towards interstellar space), then on to Uranus and Neptune in the late 70's and 80's.

After that it continued on it's way out of the solar system and has been transmitting useful data back ever since.

After all these years it is now almost out of the bubble of space where the Sun's influence reigns. It would be a shame if we lost Voyager 2 now, just at this exciting stage. What is out there?

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by James Denison / May 6, 2010 11:21 PM PDT

nothing is out there.

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What do you mean by that?
by EdHannigan / May 6, 2010 11:46 PM PDT
In reply to: nothing

There's lots of stuff out there.

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then why is it called....
by James Denison / May 7, 2010 1:25 AM PDT


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by EdHannigan / May 7, 2010 1:34 AM PDT

That's just silly.
Space contains things... stars, galaxies, planets, and who knows what else.

It's not just emptiness.

If we knew we wouldn't have to find out. And every time we look we find something.

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one atom per cubic centimeter
by James Denison / May 7, 2010 1:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Please...
There is matter spread all through the Universe, it is just spread very, very, very, very thin. The average density of gas in our Milky Way galaxy is about one atom per cubic centimeter. This is a much better vacuum than is obtained in a laboratory, but when integrated over the Galaxy, comes out to quite a lot of mass. This gas is mostly hydrogen (~90%), and helium (~9%), and less than one percent everything else. The gas between galaxies is even thinner, but there is probably something there (it hasn't been measured, though). These elements are in the Earth because they were present when the gas cloud that formed our solar system collapsed to form the Sun and the planets.

The density of matter in intergalactic space (between galaxies) is about 2 x 10-31 gm/cm3, mainly hydrogen. At these densities, I don't think one has to worry about friction.
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all kinds of things not understood
by James Denison / May 7, 2010 7:40 AM PDT

and maybe non existent if it turns out later their math, which is based on various assumptions to begin with, is wrong. Actually, in intergalactic space the density of matter is even more tenuous.
Intergalactic space is the physical space between galaxies. Generally free of dust and debris, intergalactic space is very close to a total vacuum. The space between galaxy clusters, called the voids, is probably nearly empty. Some theories put the average density of the Universe as the equivalent of one hydrogen atom per cubic meter.[40][41] The density of the universe, however, is clearly not uniform; it ranges from relatively high density in galaxies (including very high density in structures within galaxies, such as planets, stars, and black holes) to conditions in vast voids that have much lower density than the universe's average.

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Even if we find nothing..
by EdHannigan / May 7, 2010 7:44 AM PDT

that is knowledge.

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A mission well done...
by Willy / May 7, 2010 12:35 AM PDT

Don't worry, the OST crew of the 24th century will have to deal with Voyager or so the story goes.

There is still plenty out there to learn but launched in '77 we got one heck of alot of data from it and if it peters out, it was good until the last. They certainly don't make them like that anymore. Just think, if a Hubble telescope could have been part of the payload and it parked out there what even greater pix we could have now or can look(360) front or back to get a view of the solar system that is unobtainable for now. That alone is worth yet another try at a Voyager craft to dump a payload or become an electronic outpost. -----Willy Happy

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Yep, true
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 7, 2010 5:25 AM PDT
In reply to: A mission well done...

Another Voyager type spacecraft would be great.

And I think there may be one. When New Horizons reaches Pluto in 2015 it will bypass, and just keep going on. It's powered by a radioactive sourced generator, so it could last for a good many years.

Technology has improved since 1977, so the systems on board New Horizons should be able to send back better data than Voyager did.

Next destination after Pluto, the KBO, and after that, the Galaxy! Happy


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(NT) IT'S NO USE CAPTAIN!.................WE'RE BREAKING UP!!!!!
by JP Bill / May 7, 2010 4:04 AM PDT

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