Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Voyager At Edge Of Solar System

Filed under
Sci/Tech

After a storied, 28-year odyssey, NASA's venerable Voyager 1 spacecraft appears to have reached the edge of the solar system, a turbulent zone of near-nothingness where the solar wind begins to give way to interstellar space in a cosmic cataclysm known as "termination shock," scientists said yesterday.

"This is an historic step in Voyager's race," said California Institute of Technology physicist Edward C. Stone, the mission's chief scientist since Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched in the summer of 1977. "We have a totally new region of space to explore, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Stone said project scientists, working from models of a phenomenon never before directly observed, finally agreed that data from Voyager 1's tiny 80-kilobyte computer memory showed that the spacecraft had passed through termination shock to the "heliosheath," a frontier of unknown thickness that defines the border with interstellar space.

Stamatios M. Krimigis, another longtime Voyager scientist, said in an interview that the spacecraft might remain in the heliosheath for perhaps 10 years but should easily survive, going dark when its plutonium power source expires around 2020.

Of far greater concern to scientists is the possibility that NASA could kill the $4.2 million-a-year project to free up money for President Bush's initiative to send humans back to the moon and eventually to Mars.

NASA has put Voyager's fate on hold while independent reviewers evaluate the mission, with a decision expected in February. "We're very excited," Krimigis said of the latest findings. "We hope NASA will reconsider, and we're confident they will."

Stone presented the Voyager data during a telephone news conference at the 2005 Joint Assembly in New Orleans -- a joint meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the North American Benthological Society, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society.
NASA also updated the progress of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which have been exploring Mars since the beginning of last year. Spirit is examining layered rock outcrops in the Gusev Crater, and Opportunity is carefully driving itself out of a dune, where it has been stuck for a month.

Both the Mars rovers and Voyager are NASA "extended missions" that have continued to deliver valuable science long after fulfilling their original goals. The rovers are in good shape after an extra year, despite Opportunity's distress, said Project Manager James K. Erickson, and will continue to run "basically until they wear out."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Delayed Until February 2, Will Bring Linux 4.8, Newer Mesa

If you've been waiting to upgrade your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system to the 16.04.2 point release, which should have hit the streets a couple of days ago, you'll have to wait until February 2. We hate to give you guys bad news, but Canonical's engineers are still working hard these days to port all the goodies from the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) repositories to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is a long-term supported version, until 2019. These include the Linux 4.8 kernel packages and an updated graphics stack based on a newer X.Org Server version and Mesa 3D Graphics Library. Read more

Calamares Release and Adoption

  • Calamares 3.0 Universal Linux Installer Released, Drops Support for KPMcore 2
    Calamares, the open-source distribution-independent system installer, which is used by many GNU/Linux distributions, including the popular KaOS, Netrunner, Chakra GNU/Linux, and recently KDE Neon, was updated today to version 3.0. Calamares 3.0 is a major milestone, ending the support for the 2.4 series, which recently received its last maintenance update, versioned 2.4.6, bringing numerous improvements, countless bug fixes, and some long-anticipated features, including a brand-new PythonQt-based module interface.
  • Due to Popular Request, KDE Neon Is Adopting the Calamares Graphical Installer
    KDE Neon maintainer Jonathan Riddell is announcing today the immediate availability of the popular Calamares distribution-independent Linux installer framework on the Developer Unstable Edition of KDE Neon. It would appear that many KDE Neon users have voted for Calamares to become the default graphical installer system used for installing the Linux-based operating system on their personal computers. Indeed, Calamares is a popular installer framework that's being successfully used by many distros, including Chakra, Netrunner, and KaOS.

Red Hat Financial News

Wine 2.0 RC6 released