I didn’t meet Capt. Janeway until I was in my 20s, but I felt as though I’d known her all my life.
In fact, being the unapologetic geek that I am, I’ve always looked up to the brave leaders of those star-faring ships that took me places I had never imagined before…
And it looks like Voyager is at it again.
After what scientists estimate to be about a year of traveling through a sea of plasma and ionized gas, NASA’s spacecraft Voyager 1 has finally become the first man-made object to travel into interstellar space.
In fact, this happened sometime back in August 2012, but due to the complicated process of filtering through and interpreting the virtually endless data being relayed by the Voyager spacecraft, it’s taken us this long to confirm it.
Voyager 1 and its twin Voyager 2 were both launched 36 years ago with a mission to explore Jupiter and Saturn. After the unprecedented success of that excursion, their foray into space was extended indefinitely.
The Voyager Interstellar Mission, or VIM, began about 12 years after the 1977 launch and after completing the initial mission of solar planet exploration.
The new mission is simple:
Over the coming years, scientists hope to learn much more about the properties of our own solar system as well as what lies beyond.
Now Voyager 2 is somewhere in the neighborhood of 9.5 billion miles from the sun, while Voyager 1 is about 11.6 billion miles out, and both are still moving quickly into the unknown.
Don’t worry, though. We made sure they were well prepared…
Each Voyager spacecraft is equipped with a special kind of “time capsule” designed to relay information to distant alien races across time and distance.
The delivery device itself is actually a gold-plated copper disk imprinted with sounds and images that are meant to communicate the diversity of life and culture on planet Earth.
Credit: NASA JPL
A variety of information was integrated into these “time capsules,” including spoken greetings in 55 languages, 90 minutes of music and 115 images ranging from diagrams of human evolution to photos of everyday things like grocery stores and highways during rush hour.
But since it will be about 40,000 years before either Voyager passes the closest planetary system, the odds aren’t really in our favor of someone finding them. In fact, the only way it’s likely to happen at all is if there’s an advanced race of beings out there with ability to detect and retrieve the craft.
And even if that’s the case, it will be a long time before we hear from them.
Still, I say we hold out hope. After all, we may not be the first ones to try this. It’s possible that there’s a time capsule from another world heading in this direction as we speak. And if there is, I know we’ll find a way to get our hands on it so we can say hello.
Here’s to the future,
Patrick Copelandfor The Daily Reckoning
Ed. Note: LED displays… Artificial limbs… Memory foam… Clearly the exploration of space has given us more than Tang and freeze-dried steak. Indeed, it has yielded some of the world’s most exciting and useful technologies, and even if federal funding has waned in recent years, the next great tech story could very well still emerge from this sector. The free Tomorrow in Review newsletter makes sure to keep a close eye on this, as well as all the other incredible tech stories coming to market. It’s like Wired, but with real actionable investment advice. Get in on the ground floor of the next great tech story. Sign up for Tomorrow in Review, for free, right here.
Google and Space X are two giants in the private tech sector - albeit on opposite sides of the spectrum. But right now, both companies are working on new technologies that could completely alter humanity's future. That may sound pretty dramatic... But it's true. And after reading what Stephen Petranek has to say, you'll understand why...
Patrick Copeland is a copywriter for Agora Financial and writes an editorial that is published in Tomorrow in Review. Before working for Agora, he worked as a freelance writer, writing mostly for the fitness and hydroponics industries.
You need to watch less Star Trek and do better basic research. Pioneer 10 left the solar system in 1983.
Likewise on the research, Einstein.
The orbit of Neptune doesn’t demarcate interstellar space. The heliopause does. Voyager I is much faster than Pioneer 10 and made it there first.
Government life support…liquidity injection… or a giant Band-Aid…whatever you want to call it, quantitative easing is the keeping the global economic ship afloat – but for how much longer? Richard Duncan explores…
Ben Bernanke introduced the world to the concept of "quantitative easing" back in 2002. It was an "unorthodox plan" to save the economy from the horrors of deflation. But the monstrous economy it has actually created is in some ways far worse. And as Richard Duncan explains, it's not going to end any time soon. Read on..
While the technical details of Bitcoin may intimidate the novice, they shouldn’t keep him from getting in on a digital currency revolution that -- while taking different forms -- isn’t going away. How do you get the simplest, easiest-to-act-on tips about how to invest, safeguard and grow your digital wealth? Dominic Frisby has more…
The duality is stark. In one hand, we have an energy renaissance underway, in the other, a virus is threatening to wreak havoc on the markets and, potentially, your life. Nothing we’re currently doing to fight the Ebola virus will work in 2014, say the researchers. Nothing we’re currently doing will beat it in 2015, either. We need a new game-plan. Read on…
Lose your shirt in 3D printing stocks this year? Don’t kick yourself. You’re not alone. (Okay, kick yourself a little if it’ll make you feel better.) You need to make sure you don’t lose your 3D-printed shirt in the next tech craze. Because there will be a next time. Look, it’s really not your fault if you got taken for a ride on 3D stocks. Greg Guenthner has more...