Thursday, November 06, 2003

Voyager 1 phoned home this week to let us know, that after 26 years of travel, it may actually have left our solar system and entered interstellar space. It's sister spacecraft, Voyager 2, isn't far behind - but going in nearly the opposite direction, of achieving that.

WOW. Think about that. Initially designed to operate for just 5 years, both spacecraft have been sending back data on our solar system for over 5 times that.

Here's are two spacecraft that have traveled some 8.4 billion miles, transmitted over five trillion bits of scientific data (enough to fill 6,000 complete sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica) using an ailing backup radio transmitter, visited 90% of the planets in our solar system and some 48 moons, made measurements of the solar wind, store images and data on a VCR type recorder which can last for over 22 years of playing without failure (and it's way beyond that), taken literally thousands of photographs and scientific measurements and beamed them back to earth on a radio signal the strength 20 billion times weaker and using with less computer memory than a digital wristwatch, and all costing total, less than .20 for every American.

Now THAT's exploration.


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