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(The Atlantic)   "It could hold a crew of... tens of thousands. Or a crew of a thousand, ten miles tall." Voyager 1 is *this close* to leaving the solar system   (theatlantic.com) divider line 76
    More: Spiffy, Voyager I, heliosphere, radio signals, interstellar space, voyager spacecraft, kilometres per second, escape velocity, African Union  
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7778 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Jun 2012 at 1:14 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-15 10:30:28 AM  
I fell asleep halfway through that headline.
 
2012-06-15 10:36:37 AM  
cdn.theatlantic.com
An artist's rendering of the two Voyager spacecraft at the outer edge of our solar system (NASA)

My kid could MS Paint that.
 
2012-06-15 10:47:28 AM  
So long, carbon units.
 
DAR [TotalFark]
2012-06-15 11:00:05 AM  
V'ger... expects an answer

/not subby
 
2012-06-15 11:44:37 AM  

DAR: V'ger... expects an answer

/not subby


My only major issue with ST:TMP was that Kirk not banging an alien woman who spends most of the movie not wearing pants is totally unbelievable.

/from a race of nymphos, at that
 
2012-06-15 01:05:41 PM  
I'm sad because I am not convinced we could build something like that anymore, even if we had the necessary budget and Congressional approval.
 
2012-06-15 01:20:26 PM  
Space sounds scary! I am glad I have a comfortable desk to sit in everyday to do important things like touch papers and move them around a bit. Imagine something as awful as leaving the solar system. Who would want that???

/i would
 
2012-06-15 01:40:34 PM  
It will crash into Planet X... or should it be Planet IX before it ever leaves the heliosphere.
 
2012-06-15 01:43:40 PM  
I expect it to hit a painted wall a la The Truman Show.
 
2012-06-15 01:48:29 PM  

Gig103: I'm sad because I am not convinced we could build something like that anymore, even if we had the necessary budget and Congressional approval.


Actually, because of the alignment of the outer planets at the time was just right for getting the necessary gravity boost for the Voyager probes, there won't be another similar mission for hundreds of years when those planets line up just right again. I'm just thankful that the people at the time had the foresight to take advantage of the opportunity.
 
2012-06-15 01:51:16 PM  
Planet IX? Is that the planet that guarantees equal funding for women's sports?
 
2012-06-15 01:56:06 PM  

Zeno-25: Gig103: I'm sad because I am not convinced we could build something like that anymore, even if we had the necessary budget and Congressional approval.

Actually, because of the alignment of the outer planets at the time was just right for getting the necessary gravity boost for the Voyager probes, there won't be another similar mission for hundreds of years when those planets line up just right again. I'm just thankful that the people at the time had the foresight to take advantage of the opportunity.


When next the stars align, the star-spawn will ride the etheric winds down to age, and launch the new age!

Ia Ia!
 
2012-06-15 01:57:57 PM  

floor: Planet IX? Is that the planet that guarantees equal funding for women's sports?


No, Planet IX gives us manufactured goods and Highliners.
 
2012-06-15 02:11:30 PM  
Safe travels, V'Ger...hopefully you can still send data back to us from the other side.
 
2012-06-15 02:19:45 PM  

FishyFred: [cdn.theatlantic.com image 615x326]
An artist's rendering of the two Voyager spacecraft at the outer edge of our solar system (NASA)

My kid could MS Paint that.


I swear the "cloudfield" in that picture is a screencap from the Deep Space 9 opening credits.
 
2012-06-15 02:24:03 PM  

Gig103: I'm sad because I am not convinced we could build something like that anymore, even if we had the necessary budget and Congressional approval.



New Horizons flys by Pluto in 2015.

www.astronomy-blog.com

Cassini is in orbit around Saturn, currently collecting all kinds of cool data about the planet and its moons.

scitizen.com

And let's not forget that Curiosity is going to be landing on Mars in August.

a.abcnews.com

NASA's doing just as well with the unmanned probes today as they were in the late-70s when Voyager was launched and Viking was on Mars. From a science standpoint, the probes are certainly more capable so we're getting a lot more data, especially with Cassini that is in orbit long term instead of being a fly-by mission like Voyager.
 
2012-06-15 02:30:31 PM  

Mad_Radhu: And let's not forget that Curiosity is going to be landing on Mars in August.


I just want to say that Curiosity is farking huge! Also it has a nice powerplant and really neat entry and landing system
 
2012-06-15 02:30:39 PM  
To me, this is awesome. I was 8 when this launched and I remember how cool it was since Star Wars was new and I was obsessed with the movie and space-stuff in general. The thought of a golden record on-board was neat too. I have always enjoyed hearing when it hit new planets (still am fascinated with gas giants) and new depths of space. Knowing this man-made hardware, which I feel is a part of my childhood, will soon be out of our solar system is just... cool.
 
2012-06-15 02:33:53 PM  

TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: My only major issue with ST:TMP was that Kirk not banging an alien woman who spends most of the movie not wearing pants is totally unbelievable.


Huh. My problem with it was that it was farking boring as shiat. And before someone tells me to go watch a Transformers movie, I don't have a problem with slow, meandering sci-fi but Jesus. Not to mention the fact that it was a remake of an earlier episode of the series. "Where NOMAD has gone before".

But I digress.
 
2012-06-15 02:36:59 PM  
There are many machines on Ix. New machines.
 
2012-06-15 02:40:39 PM  

scally1: There are many machines on Ix. New machines.


Better than Richese?
 
2012-06-15 02:42:44 PM  
The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?
 
2012-06-15 02:43:30 PM  
Haven't we been seeing this story every 6 months for the past 3 or 4 years?
 
2012-06-15 02:45:14 PM  

DerAppie: The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?


What, really, do we have that a space-faring race could POSSIBLY want? If, by chance, they just happen to be close enough to know we're here and close enough to expend the ridiculous resources to get here -- why bother with our planet instead of all the others which are out there?
 
2012-06-15 02:51:55 PM  

DerAppie: The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?


When you are fighting as an insurgent, you don't have to actually win, you just have to hurt or kill enough of the invaders to make them go home. Just look at some of our recent wars, where cell phones strapped to improvised explosives were the bane of the most technologically advanced army the world has ever seen.
 
2012-06-15 02:52:22 PM  

DerAppie: //Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?


Some dumbass or sci-fi writer. Or both. I'm not saying that aliens aren't out there. Given the size of the universe, he probably that there isn't life somewhere else is as close to zero as non-zero can get. But they haven't farked with us yet. The chances that they will within our lifetimes is also pretty small. So it's not really something worth pondering outside fiction.
 
2012-06-15 02:54:39 PM  

FishyFred:
My kid could MS Paint that.


But he didn't. So he's a bad artist AND he's lazy.
 
2012-06-15 02:56:41 PM  

Katolu: Truman


Exactly what I came to say.
 
2012-06-15 02:56:47 PM  

meanmutton: DerAppie: The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?

What, really, do we have that a space-faring race could POSSIBLY want? If, by chance, they just happen to be close enough to know we're here and close enough to expend the ridiculous resources to get here -- why bother with our planet instead of all the others which are out there?


Well, he did say "slave race" and we don't have any evidence of that particular resource existing on any of the planets we know about.
Aliens who wanted semi-intelligent (by their standards) slaves would probably have an easier time fetching humans from a nearby planet than they would enslaving their own race or robots.
Then again, coming down to rule earth with an iron fist is probably less efficient than just abducting a small number of us to use as breeding stock closer to the work sites.
 
2012-06-15 02:57:37 PM  

Mad_Radhu: DerAppie: The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?

When you are fighting as an insurgent, you don't have to actually win, you just have to hurt or kill enough of the invaders to make them go home. Just look at some of our recent wars, where cell phones strapped to improvised explosives were the bane of the most technologically advanced army the world has ever seen.


Yeah, except those technologically advanced armies annihilated them, took superficial casualties, and instilled a government in line with their belief system.
 
2012-06-15 02:59:03 PM  

serial_crusher: meanmutton: DerAppie: The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?

What, really, do we have that a space-faring race could POSSIBLY want? If, by chance, they just happen to be close enough to know we're here and close enough to expend the ridiculous resources to get here -- why bother with our planet instead of all the others which are out there?

Well, he did say "slave race" and we don't have any evidence of that particular resource existing on any of the planets we know about.
Aliens who wanted semi-intelligent (by their standards) slaves would probably have an easier time fetching humans from a nearby planet than they would enslaving their own race or robots.
Then again, coming down to rule earth with an iron fist is probably less efficient than just abducting a small number of us to use as breeding stock closer to the work sites.


What use could human slaves provide that would be worth the sacrifice of the ridiculous resources required to come here, get them, and then take them back wherever they're from?
 
2012-06-15 03:01:11 PM  
img.photobucket.com
 
2012-06-15 03:02:29 PM  

Katolu: I expect it to hit a painted wall a la The Truman Show.


This is actually what a came to say. Geezus. TGIF and shiat.
 
2012-06-15 03:08:03 PM  

meanmutton: What use could human slaves provide that would be worth the sacrifice of the ridiculous resources required to come here, get them, and then take them back wherever they're from?


Africans probably said that about the white man.

Maybe earth would be a good strategic military base. Or maybe the aliens are just racist dicks who want to exterminate everyone else. That's not unheard of in our own history either.
 
2012-06-15 03:10:12 PM  
Every article about Voyager 1 for the last 15 years has been about how it's about to leave the solar system.
 
2012-06-15 03:13:09 PM  
As an engineer, I thought ST:TMP (Director's Cut, please) was the best Trek movie because it was the most techically accurate. Assuming we had a Star Ship, that movie was a realistic depiction of how we would go about intercepting an incoming alien.

I was very disappointed that none of the Trek TV episodes were ever filmed like a Nat Geo/PBS documentary. It would have really heightened the realism of the series.

/"Not chess.... Poker!"
 
2012-06-15 03:13:23 PM  

serial_crusher: Then again, coming down to rule earth with an iron fist is probably less efficient than just abducting a small number of us to use as breeding stock closer to the work sites


I humbly volunteer for the good of our planet and society to be placed in our new alien overlord stud farm.
 
2012-06-15 03:13:38 PM  

amplexus: To me, this is awesome. I was 8 when this launched and I remember how cool it was since Star Wars was new and I was obsessed with the movie and space-stuff in general. The thought of a golden record on-board was neat too. I have always enjoyed hearing when it hit new planets (still am fascinated with gas giants) and new depths of space. Knowing this man-made hardware, which I feel is a part of my childhood, will soon be out of our solar system is just... cool.


The Golden Record is full of some seriously embarrassing stuff. It was definitely a product of the time it was made.

Once we achieve interstellar space flight, one of our first missions should be to go out and retrieve the Voyager spacecrafts before some aliens do. The last thing we want is to be the laughingstock of the galaxy once they listen to that Record.
 
2012-06-15 03:19:38 PM  

Gig103: I'm sad because I am not convinced we could build something like that anymore, even if we had the necessary budget and Congressional approval.


Me too.
 
2012-06-15 03:22:04 PM  

LDM90: Every article about Voyager 1 for the last 15 years has been about how it's about to leave the solar system.


You must really hate Voyager if you're that impatient for it to be out of the solar system.
 
2012-06-15 03:23:43 PM  

mark12A: As an engineer, I thought ST:TMP (Director's Cut, please) was the best Trek movie because it was the most techically accurate. Assuming we had a Star Ship, that movie was a realistic depiction of how we would go about intercepting an incoming alien.


What made it more accurate? Genuinely curious.
 
2012-06-15 03:40:51 PM  

Mugato: meanmutton: What use could human slaves provide that would be worth the sacrifice of the ridiculous resources required to come here, get them, and then take them back wherever they're from?

Africans probably said that about the white man.


No, they wouldn't have because even if they had assumed that there were other people out close enough to float a boat to, it really wasn't all that resource intensive to build a boat capable of navigating the seas and, in doing so, they didn't pass right by moons and comets and asteroids which would be loaded up with all the same resources only much, much easier to exploit.

Maybe earth would be a good strategic military base. Or maybe the aliens are just racist dicks who want to exterminate everyone else. That's not unheard of in our own history either.

How would Earth be a better "strategic military base" than Mars or Io or Ceres?

Also, if they wanted to destroy the Earth, I guess they could do it but that's a lot of effort to go in order to boil an anthill.
 
2012-06-15 03:44:16 PM  
Although they're never going to turn on the camera again, I wonder if it could be calculated when Voyager 1 would be far enough away that the entire orbit of Neptune would fit inside the camera's field of view (no mosaic).
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-06-15 03:49:17 PM  

meanmutton: How would Earth be a better "strategic military base" than Mars or Io or Ceres?


I don't know, I don't ask them about their military strategy.

Also, if they wanted to destroy the Earth, I guess they could do it but that's a lot of effort to go in order to boil an anthill.

Why would we be ants to them just because they have a few hundred years of technology on us? There are humans in the present who aren't any more evolved than people who lived 3,000 years ago. There's no reason to think that alien visitors wouldn't be pricks. They probe our assholes, for Chrissakes. At least he told me he was an alien.
 
2012-06-15 03:52:55 PM  
mark12A: As an engineer, I thought ST:TMP (Director's Cut, please) was the best Trek movie because it was the most techically accurate. Assuming we had a Star Ship, that movie was a realistic depiction of how we would go about intercepting an incoming alien.

What made it more accurate? Genuinely curious.


Mainly, more talking and analysis before acting, less overacting histronics and fight scenes.

1. Gathering data from the commincations relay, sharing it with the people on the starship going to confront the probe
2. Grabbing the closest starship, putting an experienced man in command (the exact opposite of the reboot)
3. Boldly going out to meet the incoming, completely unknown probe (which is pretty damm ballsy, if you actually put yourself in the situation)
4. Doggedly fighting with the ship to get it working right en-route (wormhole/warp drive problems) Reminds me of a lot of Navy builders trials I've been on.
5. Textbook perfect initial contact, with the ship systems coping (barely) with the plasma bolt, evasive action, then the quick thinking with re-programming the Linguacode.
6. Their superb adaptability with dealing with the emotional shock of losing a crewmate, then confronted with a replica of Ilia, and actually having the presence of mind to use the replica to attempt communications with the Intruder.
7. Spock trying to open up a backup approach
8. And the total coolness displayed when the bombs were being deployed around earth, and their last minute negoiations with V'Ger as all hell was breaking loose.

ST:TMP was Gene Roddenberry's vision of the potential of the human race. Rational, intelligent, adaptable, resourceful. Effective.

The other classic Trek movies were fun, but showed humans in complete thrall to their emotions, and not necessarily making the best choices. They were not Gene's creations.

I really liked ST:TNG (Roddenberry in control) because they spent a lot of time in the conference room, actually thinking through what they were going to do.

I want to live in Gene's future.
 
2012-06-15 04:03:29 PM  
Far out man!
 
2012-06-15 04:09:51 PM  

meanmutton: I guess they could do it but that's a lot of effort to go in order to boil an anthill.


The question we should be worried about isn't whether they'd go to all that effort to boil an anthill, but whether they would feel guilty with themselves over doing it.

Do we ever feel guilty when we destroy a bug nest?
 
2012-06-15 04:14:48 PM  

Mugato: Why would we be ants to them just because they have a few hundred years of technology on us?


By what metric can you affirm that an alien intelligence capable of interstellar travel only has a few hundred years of technology on us?
 
2012-06-15 04:20:41 PM  

Nem Wan: Although they're never going to turn on the camera again, I wonder if it could be calculated when Voyager 1 would be far enough away that the entire orbit of Neptune would fit inside the camera's field of view (no mosaic).
[upload.wikimedia.org image 640x491]


That should be pretty easy to figure out.

Maximum separation of planets would be with Neptune and Uranus at opposition. Maximum distance of Uranus from the Sun is 20 AU, and for Neptune it's 30 AU, so the baseline would be 50 AU. Voyager 1s wide angle camera has a field of view of 3.169 degrees, so plugging that into the formula for a triangle you'd have to be about 900 AU away.

Currently the "widest" part of the solar system from any perspective is between Saturn and Uranus. Saturn is at 10 AU from the Sun, to the baseline is 20 AU, making the distance where this would be possible about 540 AU.

ATTFA, Voyager 1 is at 121 AU, so it would have a way to go unless the planets were lined up just right.

Now, to pedantically answer your question, to fit the entire orbit of Neptune, the baseline would be 60 AU, and the distance required would be about 1,085 astronomical units, but you wouldn't need to be that far to capture the entire Solar System.
 
2012-06-15 04:25:42 PM  

meanmutton: serial_crusher: meanmutton: DerAppie: The day humans broadcasted that there is a slave race there for the taking.

/As if we could mount any meaningful resistance to aliens who managed interstellar travel
//Who was it that said that humans should be afraid, very afraid for what is out there?

What, really, do we have that a space-faring race could POSSIBLY want? If, by chance, they just happen to be close enough to know we're here and close enough to expend the ridiculous resources to get here -- why bother with our planet instead of all the others which are out there?

Well, he did say "slave race" and we don't have any evidence of that particular resource existing on any of the planets we know about.
Aliens who wanted semi-intelligent (by their standards) slaves would probably have an easier time fetching humans from a nearby planet than they would enslaving their own race or robots.
Then again, coming down to rule earth with an iron fist is probably less efficient than just abducting a small number of us to use as breeding stock closer to the work sites.

What use could human slaves provide that would be worth the sacrifice of the ridiculous resources required to come here, get them, and then take them back wherever they're from?


Why is there necessarily a massive expense involved? You wouldn't be able to pull off a massive interplanetary federation without first having access to affordable transportation.
Sure, it's less likely that we'd be enslaved by a species who's only interested in staying in their own solar system, but who's to say somebody who has that problem licked wouldn't be interested?
Even if interplanetary travel was expensive, it might still be a justified expense. Taking a boat full of black people from Africa to South Carolina was pretty expensive back in those days, but we still did it because it was ultimately cheaper than paying white people to do the work.

As for what particular work humans would be suited to... well that's hard to answer without knowing something about the aliens' labor requirements and technological limitations. But they probably still have a lot of the same crappy jobs that we use illegal immigrants for today. Fast food cashiers, farm laborers, middle school teachers, etc. If the aliens had their own species doing that work, they'd all be demanding a living wage. But substantially fewer of them would care about the working conditions of a bunch of humans.
 
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