Wed
Jan 19 2011 1:48pm

Voyager Might Out-Function Its Conceiver

Voyager 1The Baltimore Sun has a really great article/interview with Stamatios “Tom” Krimigis, one of the two principal investigators of the Voyager spacecraft program, regarding the uncanny longevity of the two Voyager satellites.

It was announced just last month that Voyager 1 had reached the edge of the solar wind, and thus, the edge of the solar system, but its instruments were never expected to last this long. The article in the Balitmore Sun goes into a little more depth about the engineering behind the Voyager satellites and their launch window. (Voyager took advantage of a once-every-175-years planetary alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.)

Krimigis still works on the Voyager project and the data that it sends back. From the article: “I suspect it’s going to outlast me.”

The spacecraft have been functioning for so long that Voyager 2 even has its own Twitter. (And check out this Metafilter thread regarding how we could actually retrieve Voyager.) Check out the full article at the first link above.

4 comments
V-ger
1. V-ger
I think we all know voyager will return of its own volition, and try to discern the creator from all these carbon units that have infested the homeworld.
V-ger
2. Ramenth
Does this sort of thing ever end well in fiction?
Nick Abadzis
3. Nick_Abadzis
There's something incredibly romantic and hopeful about Voyager 1 reaching the edge of interstellar space, about it speeding into the universe and still radioing back data. A manmade ship all the way out there, really out there so deep in the cold, merrily functioning away far longer than its creators ever thought or hoped it would. It really is a testament to human ingenuity.
V-ger
4. a-j
Nick-Abadzis - absolutely.

Mind you, I'm one of those who gets a tad weepy thinking about the probe that was deliberately crashed into Jupiter to avoid potential contamination of Europa, not so teary that I can remember it's name, mind. One of the Pioneers?

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