Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Voyager 2 is confused....

The Voyager 2 prob has become somewhat confused in its old age. According to an article in Tech Republic the 30 year old explorer has begun sending back confusing data, almost certainly due to the result of cosmic rays hitting the probe's computer memory and causing it to report conflicting data. The good news is that the command and control sections of the craft are still functioning so trouble shooting should be able to figure out the area of malfunction. Voyager 1 and 2 are still of major interest to the scientific community mainly because they are due, in the next five years, to exit the solar system ( the solar system's boundaries are determined by the " heliopause " or the area where the sun's solar wind is equaled by that of stellar wind) .

The two craft have traveled apx 13 billion kilometers which means that it takes 26 hours to send a command and receive a reply. Think about 30 years, the fastest craft that man ever built has only traveled 13 hours away and hasn't even left the back yard yet, let alone the neighborhood. Space is incomprehensibly vast. Even if we construct a craft to go a hundred times faster, it would still take thousands of years to leave "the neighborhood".

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