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(Space.com)   Remember the famous "Pale Blue Dot" photo that Voyager took of the Earth from the edge of the Solar System? How about a photo of Voyager at the edge of the Solar System as seen from Earth?   (space.com) divider line 103
    More: Cool, Voyager, Earth, ionized gas, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, St. Croix, interstellar space, Orion Nebula  
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27365 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Sep 2013 at 7:04 AM (48 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-16 06:57:21 AM
Farewell, little spaceship.

It is fun to imagine the havoc this thing might create on some planet in a few billion years.
 
2013-09-16 06:59:13 AM
Do they have a pic of the Sun from Voyager?

An interstellar selfie, if you would.
 
2013-09-16 07:03:16 AM
1977 technology looking back at 2013 technology that is looking back at 1977 technology.

....from 12 BILLION miles away.
 
2013-09-16 07:09:53 AM
images.wikia.com
 
2013-09-16 07:20:06 AM
thislooksshopped.jpg
 
2013-09-16 07:20:45 AM
Cool.
 
2013-09-16 07:21:40 AM
A stellar achievement upgrades to interstellar.

Nice job.
 
2013-09-16 07:22:23 AM
FTFA:
A smartphone has thousands of times more memory than Voyager 1 and the space probe's main transmitter radiates just 22 watts, about the same amount of power as a typical ham radio or a refrigerator light bulb, NASA said.
...
At the time of the observation, Voyager 1 was 11.5 billion miles (18.5 billion kilometers) away from Earth.

OK, so that's 11,500,000,000 / 22 = ~
523 million miles per watt.

Hams still hold the record:

According to Rich Arland, K7YHA (now K7SZ), in World Radio magazine (Feb. 1990, year 19, issue 89, pp. 46-47) the long-distance low power record is held by KL7YU and W7BVV using one micro-watt over a distance of 1,650 mile 10-meter path between Alaska and Oregon in 1970. This is the equivalent of 1.6 billion miles per watt.

NASA has a way to go, yet.
 
2013-09-16 07:22:30 AM
Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.
 
2013-09-16 07:23:39 AM

TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.


This.
 
2013-09-16 07:23:49 AM
What of Black Science Man?
 
2013-09-16 07:24:21 AM
www.ex-astris-scientia.org
Just after they turned off the telescopes...
 
2013-09-16 07:25:39 AM
Lets try that again,

[startrekwarpflash.jpg]

Just after they turned off the telescopes...
 
2013-09-16 07:26:54 AM

TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.


Normally we wouldn't call an image on a website a radio transmission either, so maybe we can call it even?
 
2013-09-16 07:27:49 AM

Archie Goodwin: [www.ex-astris-scientia.org image 150x90]
Just after they turned off the telescopes...


Archie Godwined?

/Couldn't resist.
//V  GER
 
2013-09-16 07:28:20 AM

dittybopper


NASA has a way to go, yet.


Be sure to let us know when hams are capable of building, launching, and tracking a device like Voyager and THEN communicating with it from 11+ billion miles away.

Otherwise, please shut your word-hole and appreciate NASA's achievement for what it is.
 
2013-09-16 07:28:26 AM

TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.


I don't know much about radio telescopes but I assume they they are set up in an array allowing them to capture and process data much like a CCD would in a digital camera (just on a much larger scale). So how much different is this picture than any other that is outside the visual spectrum that is processed and rendered in the visible spectrum such as UV or IR?
 
2013-09-16 07:29:54 AM

mr_a: Farewell, little spaceship.

It is fun to imagine the havoc this thing might create on some planet in a few billion years.


Love this, can just imagine an society, early in its development, finding the wreckage and just freaking the fark out. Giggling just thinking about it.....beer helps
 
2013-09-16 07:30:22 AM

TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.


imgc.artprintimages.com
 
2013-09-16 07:31:40 AM
That's why I tamper-proof my phone with Windows 8, and a picture of Justin Bieber for the locked screen.

I KNOW, FARK ME RIGHT?
 
2013-09-16 07:35:32 AM

Englebert Slaptyback: dittybopper

NASA has a way to go, yet.


Be sure to let us know when hams are capable of building, launching, and tracking a device like Voyager and THEN communicating with it from 11+ billion miles away.

Otherwise, please shut your word-hole and appreciate NASA's achievement for what it is.


No, see, they have a way to go, like 900 million miles more to go...
 
2013-09-16 07:46:06 AM
Makes you feel isolated knowing it will take 40,000 years to reach the nearest star at that speed. Unless we figure out ways to travel, we will never be all Star Trekky.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-09-16 08:01:50 AM
Your cell phone can outcompute Voyager, but it can't run 40 years without recharging.

dittybopper

Square miles per watt seems like a better figure of merit for long distance radio.
 
2013-09-16 08:02:41 AM

Englebert Slaptyback: Be sure to let us know when hams are capable of building, launching, and tracking a device like Voyager and THEN communicating with it from 11+ billion miles away.


Oh, we're capable of building them, tracking them, and communication with it.  Hell, right now, there are approximately 14 working or semi-working ham radio satellites in orbit.

The oldest one is OSCAR-7, which was launched approximately about the same time as the Voyager spacecraft.  It actually "died" in 1981 due to a battery failure, and then came back to life in 2002.

There are only two things that really prevent hams from doing what NASA has done:  Cost, and regulatory issues related to nuclear materials.

It costs a lot to launch an interstellar spacecraft.  Hams have historically relied up a "free ride" as ballast on orbital launches, but even that is ending as "microsats", which hams innovated btw, become commercially viable sources of income for countries.  Generally, interplanetary launches are out of reach because there is almost always zero excess lifting capacity for those.

Plus, hams aren't generally allowed to fool around with plutonium, needed for the RTGs that power deep space spacecraft like the Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini missions.  So without the ability to actually power a spacecraft that far from the Sun due to regulatory issues related to highly dangerous materials, then it ain't gonna happen.

Having said that, hams *HAVE* listened to Voyager 1.  In fact, there is a very tiny subset of hams that specialize in monitoring deep space spacecraft.

Remember, a lot of the people who build that kind of thing for governments are also hams because they *LIKE* this sort of thing, and they like to see what they can do with their own equipment.
 
2013-09-16 08:03:49 AM
Take another one.

/my eyes were closed
 
2013-09-16 08:08:53 AM
Serious question for the space geeks out there:  What's the real scoop on theoretical propulsion systems?  If we were to design another deep space probe, just how fast could we get it going in practice?  1% light speed?  Or not even that?
 
2013-09-16 08:09:38 AM

ZAZ: dittybopper

Square miles per watt seems like a better figure of merit for long distance radio.


Huh?  Square miles is a measure of *AREA*.  Miles is a measure of linear *DISTANCE*.

You wouldn't say that Voyager is 11.5 billion square miles from Earth, would you?

Maybe what you are alluding to is the inverse square law.
 
2013-09-16 08:15:11 AM

Loki009: So how much different is this picture than any other that is outside the visual spectrum that is processed and rendered in the visible spectrum such as UV or IR?


Ding Ding Ding. The answer is correct. Radio waves are just the low end of the Electromagnetic spectrum that visible light also resides in. So a "picture" can be achieved using any of these frequencies. Radio and Microwave at the low end, X-ray and Gamma ray at the high end.
 
2013-09-16 08:15:46 AM
I still think it would be the biggest WTF moment ever if we figure out how to travel at light speed and sometime in the future someone smacks right into Voyager in what is supposed to be empty space.

The chances of which are mind boggling.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-09-16 08:20:50 AM
nekom

There are two constraints on high speed propulsion: energy and momentum. Momentum dictates the rocket equation:

delta-v = (exhaust velocity) x ln (initial mass / final mass)

The logarithmic factor tells you your rocket can't go a lot faster than its exhaust comes out the back. It takes a mass ratio of 20 to go 3 times as fast as your exhaust.

Energy reminds you that if you are tempted to make the equation balance by increasing exhaust velocity, you have to provide the (1/2 mv^2) kinetic energy of the exhaust. Fission technology can convert about 0.1% of the radioactive material to energy. If you can convert that efficiently to rocket exhaust with minimal dead weight in your system, you get an exhaust velocity on the order of 1-5% light speed. But the engineering obstacles are huge. People designing interstellar missions figure as long as they are working miracles, they might as well pretend they have nuclear fusion.
 
2013-09-16 08:21:26 AM

nekom: Serious question for the space geeks out there:  What's the real scoop on theoretical propulsion systems?  If we were to design another deep space probe, just how fast could we get it going in practice?  1% light speed?  Or not even that?


If we were willing to modify or abrogate the Limited Test Ban Treaty to allow nuclear explosions in space, in theory we could approach about 10% of the speed of light with a probe that uses nuclear pulse propulsion, assuming we were going to just do a flyby of the nearest stars.  That means we could launch a probe to the Alpha Centauri system and it would get there in about 44 years, which is a reasonable time frame:  Voyager 1 was launched 36 years ago, and is still operating.

From an engineering standpoint, there is no major hurdle that anyone has seen so far for nuclear pulse propulsion.   They even did small-scale tests of the concept with conventional explosives.  Cost would be expensive, of course, and it opens up some proliferation issues, but if it were a multinational project it could be done.
 
2013-09-16 08:22:03 AM

nekom: Serious question for the space geeks out there:  What's the real scoop on theoretical propulsion systems?  If we were to design another deep space probe, just how fast could we get it going in practice?  1% light speed?  Or not even that?


With current technology, even 1% c is significantly out of reach. With a combination of bigger rockets than we've used for probes before and suitable gravity assists we could get something moving substantially faster than the Voyagers, but it'd still be puny compared to the speed of light. For comparison, Voyager 1 is currently traveling at about 17 km/s, which works out to about 0.000057% of the speed of light.

For theoretical drives, the best-performing drive that we're fairly sure could be built with our current technology is probably the Orion drive, which literally propels a spacecraft by the detonation of a stream of small nuclear bombs dropped out the back. This is one of those 'sounds so ridiculous it can't possibly be right' things, but it actually would probably work, and with a sufficiently efficient bomb design you might be able to get up to the vicinity of a percent of lightspeed. Unfortunately, Orion drive ships are going to be *very* large (it doesn't scale down very well), and it's essentially completely impossible from a political point of view.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-09-16 08:26:19 AM
dittybopper

Yes, inverse square law. A properly handicapped test of radio transmission should square the distance involved.

If you stay on Earth the ionosphere may mess up the inverse square law, but spacecraft to earth is inverse square.
 
2013-09-16 08:29:15 AM
Live long and prosper, Voyager.

/can't believe the damn thing still works
 
2013-09-16 08:30:54 AM

dittybopper


Englebert Slaptyback: Be sure to let us know when hams are capable of building, launching, and tracking a device like Voyager and THEN communicating with it from 11+ billion miles away.

Oh, we're capable of building them, tracking them, and communication with it. Hell, right now, there are approximately 14 working or semi-working ham radio satellites in orbit.


Please read that again: I said a device like Voyager. Putting a ham satellite into LEO is not sending it into deep space, and I am fairly certain there is nothing like the VLBA in the ham community.

I imagine there is a non-trivial subset of NASA personnel who are hams. However, you seem to be equating hams with NASA or - more strangely - saying that hams are more capable than NASA, which is demonstrably untrue.
 
2013-09-16 08:33:36 AM

DoBeDoBeDo: I still think it would be the biggest WTF moment ever if we figure out how to travel at light speed and sometime in the future someone smacks right into Voyager in what is supposed to be empty space.

The chances of which are mind boggling.


>supposed to be empty space. Depends on definition of "empty". Space is not empty given all the matter (regular and dark)

>chances of which are mind boggling. No, it's easy to calculate (volume of voyager)/(volume of universe) = 0

 
2013-09-16 08:34:21 AM

DoBeDoBeDo: I still think it would be the biggest WTF moment ever if we figure out how to travel at light speed and sometime in the future someone smacks right into Voyager in what is supposed to be empty space.

The chances of which are mind boggling.


would be more fun to race ahead of it and catch it gently so that we could make it a memorial here on Earth.
 
2013-09-16 08:38:20 AM

nekom: Serious question for the space geeks out there:  What's the real scoop on theoretical propulsion systems?  If we were to design another deep space probe, just how fast could we get it going in practice?  1% light speed?  Or not even that?


1% is doable, but not without massive expenditure, and not likely in our lifetime. In theory lots of nuclear reactors powering lots of ion engines could give constant slow acceleration for as long as the reactor fuel lasts. I think initial solid fuel blasts, then a whole bunch of gravity assists, then ion drives on top of that may result in a pretty brisk speed, but 1% would take a long time. Voyager, right now, is going 0.005% the speed of light.
 
2013-09-16 08:39:29 AM

MuonNeutrino: Unfortunately, Orion drive ships are going to be *very* large (it doesn't scale down very well),


Actually, they do scale down reasonably well, but not to the size of the Voyager spacecraft by itself.  But remember that the Voyager spacecraft system originally looked like this:

www.nasaspaceflight.com

That's about the size of the smallest possible Orion-type, minus the pusher plate and associated hardware.  With multiple heavy lifter conventional launches, you could build something like a Project Orion unmanned, one-way non-stop probe in orbit.

Heck, you could probably even pare down the mass required by a good deal if you started it with large, but conventional bombs, and then worked up to the larger nuclear explosions, accelerating relatively slowly to allow for cooling of the pusher plate.  Adding an extra year to accelerate to cruising speed for a 44 year mission isn't that big of a deal, and it allows you to use a less massive pusher plate.  Also, because you won't have humans on board, you don't really need to include the shock absorbers, just build it to take the shock.
 
2013-09-16 08:43:52 AM

Loki009: TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.

I don't know much about radio telescopes but I assume they they are set up in an array allowing them to capture and process data much like a CCD would in a digital camera (just on a much larger scale). So how much different is this picture than any other that is outside the visual spectrum that is processed and rendered in the visible spectrum such as UV or IR?


True, but that is not exactly what most people were thinking when they read the headline.

And why would a radio "photo" merit even the slightest notice?   Is there anyone who did not know that they could make an image showing how "bright" any particular part of the sky was in radio?.  The very fact that we are communicating with the spacecraft immediately demands that it would be a bright spot in such a radio "photo."
 
2013-09-16 08:48:25 AM

mr_a: Farewell, little spaceship.

It is fun to imagine the havoc this thing might create on some planet in a few billion years.


Unfortunately, it's headed somewhere it's not likely to even encounter a planet - a very old globular cluster.
 
2013-09-16 08:48:44 AM

buntz: [images.wikia.com image 850x361]


I'm gonna get some flak for this, but that was my favorite Trek movie, hands down.
 
2013-09-16 08:51:45 AM
Meanwhile, at NASA:

"Hey Bob, check out the new blue laser-pointer I got!"

"Nice, Phil. Hey - I got an idea! Let me take a pic and we can upload it and say we've spotted an alien ship!"

"No one would believe that, though."

"Wait! I've got it! We say it's Voyager as seen by the VLBA!"

Together: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
 
2013-09-16 08:58:28 AM
farm9.staticflickr.com
 
2013-09-16 09:00:26 AM

mr_a: Farewell, little spaceship.

It is fun to imagine the havoc this thing might create on some planet in a few billion years.


Actually, it's only about 30,000 years away from it's first nearest star fly by.  I think I might hang around to see that.
 
2013-09-16 09:00:33 AM

dittybopper: TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.

This.


You guys are confusing me... what do we "normally" call the output product of a radio telescope?  Perhaps "image artificially constructed from the data representation of received electromagnetic radiation in the non-visible spectrum?"

/VLBA receives in the 300 - 96000 MHz range
/VGR transmits at about 8400 MHz
 
2013-09-16 09:03:25 AM

TheMysteriousStranger: Loki009: TheMysteriousStranger: Normally we don't call what a radio receiver "hears" a photo.

I don't know much about radio telescopes but I assume they they are set up in an array allowing them to capture and process data much like a CCD would in a digital camera (just on a much larger scale). So how much different is this picture than any other that is outside the visual spectrum that is processed and rendered in the visible spectrum such as UV or IR?

True, but that is not exactly what most people were thinking when they read the headline.

And why would a radio "photo" merit even the slightest notice?   Is there anyone who did not know that they could make an image showing how "bright" any particular part of the sky was in radio?.  The very fact that we are communicating with the spacecraft immediately demands that it would be a bright spot in such a radio "photo."


Why do IR, UV, or even slow motion "photos" merit the slightest notice?
 
2013-09-16 09:07:02 AM

log_jammin: 1977 technology looking back at 2013 technology that is looking back at 1977 technology.

....from 12 BILLION miles away.


Is it just me, or is anyone else thinking "and that's as far as those quarrelsome, greedy apes ever got?"

I just think our entire existence is going to be some more rational species' cautionary bedtime story.
 
2013-09-16 09:14:14 AM
Very cool article, Subby. Thanks!
 
2013-09-16 09:14:30 AM

Englebert Slaptyback: dittybopper

Englebert Slaptyback: Be sure to let us know when hams are capable of building, launching, and tracking a device like Voyager and THEN communicating with it from 11+ billion miles away.

Oh, we're capable of building them, tracking them, and communication with it. Hell, right now, there are approximately 14 working or semi-working ham radio satellites in orbit.


Please read that again: I said a device like Voyager. Putting a ham satellite into LEO is not sending it into deep space, and I am fairly certain there is nothing like the VLBA in the ham community.

I imagine there is a non-trivial subset of NASA personnel who are hams. However, you seem to be equating hams with NASA or - more strangely - saying that hams are more capable than NASA, which is demonstrably untrue.


It's funny, many of the non-trivial personnel that have gone up in the space station were hams. I imagine the engineers communicating with Voyager are hams, along with having a GROL license. Now, were they engineers that worked for NASA and got their ham license, or hams that got jobs at NASA? I don't know. How many guys that wear Super Bowl rings also happened to play football in high school?
 
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