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TheSpaceWriter's Ramblings

Messaging the Cosmos

25 Jan 2021, 18:00 UTC
Messaging the Cosmos
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Back when I was a beginning science writer, I had the great fortune to cover the Voyager 2/Saturn flyby mission. The spacecraft (and its sister craft Voyager 1) met many challenges during their 12-year trip to explore the giant planets of the outer solar system. After they left the planets behind, both Voyagers embarked on the next phase: getting out of the solar system and into interstellar space.

The Voyager spacecraft explored the outer solar system and are now moving beyond our place in space.

Today, they’re “doing” the Voyager Interstellar Mission. Both spacecraft are outside of the solar heliosphere now. For the foreseeable future, they will transit the outer Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. Currently, the spacecraft transmit intermittent messages that convey data about the conditions they encounter. They’ll do that until their transmitters stop or they run out of power sometime in the next decade or so.

A Message in a Bottle

In 20,000 years, the Voyagers will be free of any possible influence of the solar system. That’s when they will commence the final part of their mission: as messages in a bottle. For the next millions or billions of years, they’ll traverse the galaxy in ...

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