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

Linux Kernel 3.19-Rc6 Released


Linux Kernel 3.19-Rc6 Released

One more rc released today shortening time period for the final release. Each release sees a new changes and fixes and this one is slightly smaller but as always better.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read at LinuxAndUbuntu

Ubuntu Flavors 15.04 Vivid Vervet Alpha 2 Released


Picture

Ubuntu flavors 15.04 alpha 2 has been released for testing. Ubuntu Unity does not take part in the alpha releases. Flavors like Kylin, Ubuntu Gnome, Lubuntu and Kubuntu alpha 2 relases are available.



Read at LinuxAndUbuntu

MBARI testing the waters with open source camera

“There is a movement to have open source oceanographic equipment,” said Chad Kecy, lead designer and MBARI engineer. “Anyone could take our designs and modify them for specific needs they have. It’s just a less expensive and easier way of getting cameras in the water.” Read more

Fixing unperceived errors in my X Windows configuration

Last week I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade X Windows to the latest version available in the main Portage tree. After rebooting, X Windows, GLX and Direct Rendering worked fine as usual. So everything was good. Well, not quite. Although the installation was working properly, there were still some long-standing messages in the X.Org log file that indicated my installation was not configured completely correctly. I had ignored them for too long and resolved to find their causes and eliminate them. Here is what I did.

Read more