This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Beyond Our Solar System

voyager2_large

September 3, 1977: Voyager 1 Launched

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is a 1,590 lb. (722 kilograms) space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and interstellar medium. Operating for 36 years as of 5 September 2013, the spacecraft communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data.

Voyager 1 awaiting payload entry into a Titan-Centaur-6 rocket

Voyager 1 awaiting payload entry into a Titan-Centaur-6 rocket

Launch of Voyager 1

Launch of Voyager 1

At a distance of about 125 astronomical units from the Sun as of August 2013it is the farthest man-made object from Earth and is currently traveling in a previously unstudied region of space. It is still unclear whether this region is part of interstellar space or an area within the Solar System. The amount of power available to the probe has decreased over time, and will be no longer be able to power any single instrument by 2025.

It now speeding outward from the Sun at nearly one million miles per day, a rate that would take it from Los Angeles to New York in less than four minutes.

On March 20, 2013, it was announced that Voyager 1 may have been the first man-made object to leave the Solar System, on August 25, 2012. However, it is still under debate as to whether the new region is interstellar space or an unknown region of the Solar System.

Voyagers_Position

Voyager 1 is not heading towards any particular star, but in about 40,000 years it will pass within 1.6 light years of the star Gliese 445, which is at present in the constellation Camelopardalis.

The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft and contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.

The_Sounds_of_Earth_Record_Cover_-_GPN-2000-001978

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.  Sagan and his associates assembled 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of birds and whales).

To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in fifty-six languages and printed messages from USA president Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.

The collection of images includes many photographs and diagrams both in black and white and color. The first images are of scientific interest, showing mathematical and physical quantities, the Solar System and its planets, DNA, and human anatomy and reproduction.

Contents of the Voyager Golden Record

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_Voyager_Golden_Record

Care was taken to include not only pictures of humanity, but also some of animals, insects, plants and landscapes. Images of humanity depict a broad range of cultures.

The musical selection is also varied, featuring artists such as Beethoven, Guan Pinghu, Mozart, Stravinsky, Blind Willie Johnson, Chuck Berry and Kesarbai Kerkar.

The 116 images are encoded in analogue form and composed of 512 vertical lines. The remainder of the record is audio, designed to be played at 16⅔ revolutions per minute. A stylus was included with the record 😉

Photos From Space
The Great Red Spot of Jupiter as seen from Voyager 1.

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter as seen from Voyager 1.

False color detail of Jupiter's atmosphere.

False color detail of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Voyager 1 spacecraft view of lava flows radiating from the volcano Ra Patera on Jupiter's moon Io

Voyager 1 spacecraft view of lava flows radiating from the volcano Ra Patera on Jupiter’s moon Io

Volcanic explosion on Jupiter’s moon IO: Voyager 1 acquired this image on March 4 about 11 hours before closest approach to the Jupiter moon. An enormous volcanic explosion can be seen silhouetted against dark space over Io's bright limb

Volcanic explosion on Jupiter’s moon IO: Voyager 1 acquired this image on March 4 about 11 hours before closest approach to the Jupiter moon. An enormous volcanic explosion can be seen silhouetted against dark space over Io’s bright limb

Picture of Ganymede, Jupiter's largest satellite, was taken by Voyager 1

Picture of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest satellite, was taken by Voyager 1

Valhalla crater on Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons, image taken by Voyager 1

Valhalla crater on Callisto, one of Jupiter’s moons, image taken by Voyager 1

Voyager 1 image of Saturn from 5.3 million km four days after its closest approach

Voyager 1 image of Saturn from 5.3 million km four days after its closest approach

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: