Thursday, September 12, 2013
This is very cool and gives us an idea of what we are capable of accomplishing, if only we would end racism, focus on what unites us, and stop fighting stupid wars.
In a paper published in Science today, NASA scientists have announced that Voyager I, which was launched in 1977, left the solar system and is now traveling in interstellar space.
The New York Times has the story.
The spacecraft’s technology is laughable by today’s standards: it carried an 8-track tape recorder and computers with 1/240,000th the memory of a low-end iPhone. When it left Earth 36 years ago, it was designed as a four-year mission to Saturn, and everything after that was gravy.
But Voyager I has become — unexpectedly — the Little Spacecraft That Could. On Thursday, scientists declared that it had become the first man-made object to exit the solar system, a breathtaking achievement that NASA could only fantasize about back when it was launched in 1977, the same year that “Star Wars” was released.
“I don’t know if it’s in the same league as landing on the moon, but it’s right up there — ‘Star Trek’ stuff, for sure,” said Donald A. Gurnett, a professor of physics at the University of Iowa and the co-author of a paper published Thursday in the journal Science about Voyager’s feat. “I mean, consider the distance. It’s hard even for scientists to comprehend.”