Pay please! Voyager 1 – made more than 19 hours of light in 40 years

Pay please! Voyager 1 - made more than 19 hours of light in 40 years

For exactly 40 years, Voyager 1 is traveling and the NASA probe has so far away from Earth that signals need almost 20 hours, despite the speed of light to reach the probe. Very long but it is anyway no longer send data.

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19 hours, 21 minutes and 02 seconds, the signals of the go Voyager 1 until they arrive on the earth. Sends the responsible US space agency NASA therefore commands and waits for an acknowledgment of receipt, this simple communication would already take far more than one and a half days. Further, no man-made object is removed, and though not particularly large in astronomical comparison, this distance for most people - if at all - just hard to imagine. Voyager 1 has taken on Tuesday to the day 40 years to as far away from us, and she still is in regular contact with Earth. To even still to receive the signals, NASA had to significantly increase the antennas of their NASA Deep Space Network in the meantime.

Expanding the largest antenna in the Goldstone complex of 64 meters radius of 70 meters. Expanding the largest antenna in the Goldstone complex of 64 meters radius of 70 meters.(Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

The sister probe outdated

16 days after her sister Voyager 2 Voyager 1 was sent 40 years ago, but on a narrower, faster route towards Jupiter and Saturn. By gravity of the two gas giant the probe was greatly accelerated and thrown out of the solar system. Since then, she rushes to the north of the ecliptic - that is the level at which the planets around the sun - and passed all the probes also leave the solar system. In 1990, she was already far enough away to turn around and photograph all recognizable planets - Mercury and Pluto were already too small, the Mars was too close to the sun - to be able to make. The family portrait with the Earth as a pale blue dot ("pale blue dot") Was one of the most impressive astronomical images ever.

NASA, Voyager 1 Voyagers family portrait with the small blue earth(Image: NASA, Voyager 1)

The iconic panorama consists of the last photos that has taken Voyager first The engineers have the camera both Voyager probes then switched off and overridden the time required for the control software. Even if they download the software again, it is missing then on Earth now on the computers that could not understand the image data and process, had declared three years ago on Reddit Stephanie Smith's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Anyway, the sensors should make after so many years in space no good pictures more. And besides, it is all the Voyager 1 now so dark that you could see stars and planets, but no better than from Earth - but the prospect remained of course a unique.

In relation to the sun's Voyager 1 currently 61,198.2 kilometers per hour fast, but this is not an absolute speed record. The remains sun closer probes reserved that are accelerated by the attraction of our star (Helios-A 238,000 kilometers per hour). While Voyager 1 away at that speed from the sun, the distance to Earth is not growing evenly. Since the orbits around the sun, then comes the probe every year for a while closer and away again faster - as at present. That is why the statement is not only the speed but also the distance to the sun simple: From our Star Voyager 1 is more than 20 billion kilometers - nearly 140 astronomical units.

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Voyager 1 (15 images)

Earth and Moon

In this picture, the moon was artificially brightened so that it can be seen on the bright Earth. (Image: NASA / JPL)

Still inside or even outside?

Traveling with the greatest velocity of the probes in the outer Solar System Voyager 1 has but probably still not leave this - reported differently here, or perhaps: Still tens of thousands of years, the gravitational no other star is acting as strong on Voyager 1, as the Sun. That will change only after Voyager has left the Oort cloud behind one, those not yet observed accumulation of astronomical objects in up to 1.6 light-years away at the very edge of the solar system. At the same time, the distribution of charged particles around the probe indicates, however, that it has already reached the interstellar space. Because most originate, unlike to Voyager 2, no longer out of the solar system. But at NASA says total yet, Voyager 1 did the solar system "not really" leave.

Of the total of 11 instruments on board Voyager 1 collect four still data, but slowly the power is running low. Probably from 2020 those responsible at NASA need to start off the last data collector. Around the year 2025 also the last instrument is then deactivated expected. Only status data, NASA will continue to be further received. Only towards 2036, the energy is it going finally running out. Then Voyager 1 is silenced and from the Earth no longer be localized. The journey of the probe will go unnoticed, but who knows, maybe they will eventually be found and can tell of the human race. Some messages from us in any event, on board:

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Voyager and the Golden Record (17 photos)

Voyager and the Golden Record
(Image: NASA)