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(Big Think)   Voyager 1 is the farthest spacecraft from Earth right now. Unless we make a new mission, nothing else will ever overtake it   (bigthink.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Jupiter, Voyager 1, Solar System, NASA, Humanity's first spacecraft, superior mission, New Horizons's higher launch speed, Voyager program  
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872 clicks; posted to STEM » on 23 May 2022 at 10:52 AM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



32 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-05-23 10:00:45 AM  
Username Craft Name checks out....
 
2022-05-23 10:57:24 AM  
I have it on good authority that eventually it will get lonely and return.
 
2022-05-23 10:57:59 AM  
imagez.tmz.comView Full Size
 
2022-05-23 10:59:54 AM  
After studying the gas in Uranus, it was blown into interstellar space.
 
DVD
2022-05-23 11:01:48 AM  

Meat's dream: I have it on good authority that eventually it will get lonely and return.


__________________________

Follicly-unburdened women hanging around Captain Kirk and lobbing old spacecraft around is no basis for informational authority!
 
2022-05-23 11:02:59 AM  
If we build a fusion drive (mostly an engineering issue now, the science is pretty much done if you're not trying to get over-unity), you know there will be a mission to pass it and get some imagery to send back to Earth by laser link as it does so.
 
2022-05-23 11:08:16 AM  
We already have stuff that can pass it...

eventually.

Actually, I just finished watching an explanation of how we would want to send two or three probes to exoplanets because we will want survey missions to send back data before we get there. The probes just keep accelerating, and use less fuel. The human missions will have to flip-burn at the halfway mark. In fact, it makes sense to send the humans first and then send probes later, but highly accelerated. Then the humans can figure out where to go en route.

So probes passing other probes will be a very common thing in THE FUTURE!
 
2022-05-23 11:11:04 AM  
This record is going to stand for centuries AND it was launched after Voyager 2!
 
2022-05-23 11:14:38 AM  
And still doing quality science. Sadly, the RTGs are not expected to be able to generate enough energy to provide power for any of the instruments in about three years, though.
 
2022-05-23 11:19:14 AM  
TIL there are no propulsion systems in our future other than planetary gravitational slingshot.

A similarly launched craft with a persistent ion engine could easily overtake them. And that's a "slow" system.
 
2022-05-23 11:24:17 AM  
We dont have a reason to remake it right now. We have lots of reasons to make specalized orbiters for the outer giants, a few of their moons, and maybe a couple for the belt objects, but not another voyager

We wont have a reason until we make a quantum leap in propulsion capacity so we can get things that move 20x faster than voyager at the minimum. Until then exosystem objects are not worth it with all we still have to learn about the system itself
 
2022-05-23 11:33:39 AM  

lifeslammer: We dont have a reason to remake it right now. We have lots of reasons to make specalized orbiters for the outer giants, a few of their moons, and maybe a couple for the belt objects, but not another voyager


Flyby probes would be redundant at this point.  Permanent satellites would provide so much more information.

But in any event, mankind will never again launch anything that will go as far away from Earth as the Voyager craft.
 
2022-05-23 11:39:46 AM  

2fardownthread: I just finished watching an explanation of how we would want to send two or three probes to exoplanets because we will want survey missions to send back data before we get there. The probes just keep accelerating, and use less fuel. The human missions will have to flip-burn at the halfway mark. In fact, it makes sense to send the humans first and then send probes later, but highly accelerated. Then the humans can figure out where to go en route.


Yeah, whatever you watched was highly theoretical to the point of "never going to happen" and you should treat it as scientifically plausible but essentially science fiction.

Nobody's sending a physical probe to an exoplanet when the nearest star is 80 years away with a nuclear pulse propulsion we're not willing to build.  Especially when we're in no way able to guarantee a decent probability it would still be functional at the destination or do much we can't do with a telescope already, and even getting it to send information back is pretty much impossible given the distances involved.

Sending people?  Yeah, we can't make a closed ecology work here on Earth for more than a few months.  Now put one in space and expect it to last a couple of centuries, and tell your crew of scientists they'd better train their grandchildren in time for the arrival at their destination, and that their great-great-grandchildren MIGHT live to bring results back to Earth.  Definitely not going to happen.
 
2022-05-23 11:50:57 AM  
Is this the one we sent out with nudes, a mix tape, and directions to our house?
 
2022-05-23 11:59:26 AM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Is this the one we sent out with nudes, a mix tape, and directions to our house?


Yes. It's likely that we'll be out when they call back, so we asked them to leave a note.
 
2022-05-23 12:01:30 PM  

MurphyMurphy: TIL there are no propulsion systems in our future other than planetary gravitational slingshot.

A similarly launched craft with a persistent ion engine could easily overtake them. And that's a "slow" system.


Not easily.  Voyager 1 got something like 25 km/s of delta V off of Jupiter alone, and another ~4 from Saturn. (Only looking at heliocentric speed, Saturn bent V1 out of plane more than boosted exit speed)  The Dawn mission is, to the best of my knowledge, the probe with the largest delta V on ion engines and it managed just 11 km/s total, and that's while it was close to the Sun.  You'd need an actual nuclear reactor (not an RTG) and a shiatload of Xenon to move something that heavy just to make up Jupiter's slingshot alone

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-05-23 12:01:54 PM  

Bovine Diarrhea Virus: After studying the gas in Uranus, it was blown into interstellar space.


Nice try, but Voyager 1 took a left turn at Albuquerque Saturn and headed out of the system without reaching the outer planets.
 
2022-05-23 12:09:57 PM  
Never is a LONG time, subby.
 
2022-05-23 12:12:34 PM  

Glockenspiel Hero: MurphyMurphy: TIL there are no propulsion systems in our future other than planetary gravitational slingshot.

A similarly launched craft with a persistent ion engine could easily overtake them. And that's a "slow" system.

Not easily.  Voyager 1 got something like 25 km/s of delta V off of Jupiter alone, and another ~4 from Saturn. (Only looking at heliocentric speed, Saturn bent V1 out of plane more than boosted exit speed)  The Dawn mission is, to the best of my knowledge, the probe with the largest delta V on ion engines and it managed just 11 km/s total, and that's while it was close to the Sun.  You'd need an actual nuclear reactor (not an RTG) and a shiatload of Xenon to move something that heavy just to make up Jupiter's slingshot alone

[Fark user image image 850x695]


Sure, but there's no reason we can't also slingshot our ion probe. Doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Will just won't have the consecutive slingshots available at certain planetary configurations like Voyager did.

And (I imagine?) if we're launching for distance alone, modern rockets can also provide more initial velocity than what we had in the 70s for faster solar escape.

Let's build one and find out!
 
2022-05-23 12:21:10 PM  
It's OK I saw a documentary once, apparently it'll come back to us like a bad penny.
 
2022-05-23 12:23:45 PM  
Well it has a 40 year head start.  Whatever does over take it is going to be moving pretty damn fast.
 
2022-05-23 12:33:54 PM  
Frankly, I think we'd learn more about space by building another thousand of these with faster engines and sending them in every direction, than spending a trillion dollars to go to the moon again.
 
2022-05-23 12:46:48 PM  

ImpendingCynic: Frankly, I think we'd learn more about space by building another thousand of these with faster engines and sending them in every direction, than spending a trillion dollars to go to the moon again.


Obviously you'd want a better collection of sensors and an improved communications link.  Bigger power supply.  Maybe some significant local pre-processing capacity so there's less to send back.  Sure, you lose raw data which is regrettable, but you are able to collect and forward more overall.

And you'd want to send them out in different directions to see what the heliopause looks like and what interstellar space looks like in each direction.  Including perpendicular to the plane of the Solar system.

But given the expense and difficulty, maybe 5-6 of them.  And maybe piggyback some planetary probes on the missions that will pass by anything we still want a better look at.

Fusion drives gotta be first, though.  Which will require fairly large rockets (hundreds of metric tons), but that's good when you want to have more electrical power and more computer power and more sensors and better communications capability, right?
 
2022-05-23 12:58:17 PM  

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Is this the one we sent out with nudes, a mix tape, and directions to our house?


Alien Wall From X-Files Season 11 Episode 4
Youtube T3AiWL-UHuY
 
2022-05-23 12:59:30 PM  
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world right now. Unless we make a new building, nothing else will ever overtake it.
 
2022-05-23 1:20:16 PM  

MurphyMurphy: Glockenspiel Hero: MurphyMurphy: TIL there are no propulsion systems in our future other than planetary gravitational slingshot.

A similarly launched craft with a persistent ion engine could easily overtake them. And that's a "slow" system.

Not easily.  Voyager 1 got something like 25 km/s of delta V off of Jupiter alone, and another ~4 from Saturn. (Only looking at heliocentric speed, Saturn bent V1 out of plane more than boosted exit speed)  The Dawn mission is, to the best of my knowledge, the probe with the largest delta V on ion engines and it managed just 11 km/s total, and that's while it was close to the Sun.  You'd need an actual nuclear reactor (not an RTG) and a shiatload of Xenon to move something that heavy just to make up Jupiter's slingshot alone

[Fark user image image 850x695]

Sure, but there's no reason we can't also slingshot our ion probe. Doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Will just won't have the consecutive slingshots available at certain planetary configurations like Voyager did.

And (I imagine?) if we're launching for distance alone, modern rockets can also provide more initial velocity than what we had in the 70s for faster solar escape.

Let's build one and find out!


You get a Jupiter-Saturn alignment every ~15 years or so so another Voyager probe is certainly possible

However, you don't do any better on rockets.  Modern ones are only slightly more efficient than older ones- we've pretty much reached the limits of what you can do with chemicals, and we don't even have anything much larger than the Titan IV that launched the Voyagers. (F9 Heavy is slightly more powerful but not much, neither comes close to the 50-year old Saturn V)

But remember that you need to haul a *lot* more payload than the Voyagers to get a nuclear powered ion engine up there- they only massed a bit over 800kg.  You're going to need boost a nuclear reactor along with many thousands of pounds of Xe- you're probably talking 50-100x the mass.   Maybe Starship can do it, but I'll wait to see that fly.

There actually is a proposal for a dedicated interstellar probe using existing tech that would catch Voyager- no ion engine required
 
2022-05-23 1:23:41 PM  

MurphyMurphy: TIL there are no propulsion systems in our future other than planetary gravitational slingshot.

A similarly launched craft with a persistent ion engine could easily overtake them. And that's a "slow" system.


New Horizons left Earth at something like 10km/s, then got a boost from Jupiter to nearly Voyager speeds.

Dawn left Earth at escape velocity, and then pushed on an *additional* 11km/s of velocity (not all in the same direction, it orbited two separate bodies).   The catch is that Dawn required solar power, and I don't think there's any scheme of keeping the solar panels close enough to the Sun to get to 11km/s before leaving the asteroid belt (and since Dawn orbited Ceres, it was obviously capable of operating the solar panel in the asteroid belt).

Ion systems aren't just in the lab: Dawn launched 2007 and is retired and orbiting Ceres.  You'd just need a *weaker* engine to work with an RTG and get out to Jupiter for the slingshot and just keep accelerating (Dawn's engines ran for 6 years, and engines have fired longer in labs).
 
2022-05-23 1:28:19 PM  

xrayspx: It's OK I saw a documentary once, apparently it'll come back to us like a bad penny.


It will send a probe that will make Will Decker slap Chris Rock.
 
2022-05-23 5:06:52 PM  
First relativistic probe will overtake it if pointed in the same direction but this barely qualifies as a fact. Of course the thing that's been hurtling out of the solar system at top speed into space since the 70's is the furthest thing and will remain thus.
 
2022-05-23 5:56:35 PM  

Great_Milenko: lifeslammer: We dont have a reason to remake it right now. We have lots of reasons to make specalized orbiters for the outer giants, a few of their moons, and maybe a couple for the belt objects, but not another voyager

Flyby probes would be redundant at this point.  Permanent satellites would provide so much more information.

But in any event, mankind will never again launch anything that will go as far away from Earth as the Voyager craft.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-05-23 6:02:59 PM  
Two big surprises in the article. New Horizons which when launched was the fasted probe ever won't catch up with the Voyagers. And that Ulysses will eventually be tossed out of the Solar System by Jupiter.
 
2022-05-24 5:56:29 AM  
external-content.duckduckgo.comView Full Size
 
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