Well folks, here we are again – more insanely amazing news that never really hit the big streams. But first, bear with me a moment:
How many of you folks remember the very 1st “Star Trek” movie? The first one that came after the original series with Captain Kirk, Spock and the crew? Or perhaps you might remember it as the one with the unbelievably hot bald-girl (a.k.a Lt. Ilia) played by the vastly under-appreciated Persis Khambatta, who incidentally qualified to be India’s entrant to Miss Universe at age 17 in 1965?
Well, in any case, the whole premise of that story, the real hook (because the movie itself had quite a lot of weak-points) was the concept of the villain – the Big Bad that was heading toward Earth and was unstoppable! Was it aliens? Monsters? No. It was our own creation.
It was the Voyager exploration craft that we – humanity at large – shot out into space in the 70’s with the sole purpose of taking us “where no man has gone before” that we might learn. You see, in the movie, it turns out that they all-powerful thing that has returned is Voyager, which just kept on going and eventually was found by a race of sentient machines that interpreted its programming as instructions to learn all that can be learned and return that information to its creator. The aliens upgraded the probe to help it fulfill its mission and on its journey the probe gathered so much knowledge that it achieved consciousness.
How’s that for a wicked;y amazing concept? Well it’s one step closer now in a way – because for those of you that didn’t hear it, Voyager has now officially left our solar system.
And if I might add briefly before the article itself – I never stop feeling saddened and annoyed by the amount of focus that goes to pedantic and largely irrelevant or comparatively insignificant news while achievements like this get lost in the mire. BUT! This is not about being morose, this is about sharing something amazing so read on!
This Is Humanity’s Greatest Achievement, But Mainstream News Will Never Report It
Some day it’s entirely possible that the human race will be wiped out. Maybe we’ll do it ourselves, maybe we’ll be taken out by a rogue asteroid, or maybe we’ll survive until the sun turns into a red giant and burns away the Earth’s crust. Maybe we’ll make it out of the solar system in time to colonize other planets before that happens, but even if we don’t, somewhere out there in the universe at least something will survive as a signpost to say “hey we were here”.
Voyager 1, the space probe originally launched by NASA back in 1977, has escaped the solar system. It’s the first man made object ever to leave our solar system, the first tangible evidence, to any creature which might be out there in the universe, that we are here and we exist. I can’t think of anything bigger or more important.
It’s taken 35-years but The Atlantic says that over the last few weeks Voyager 1 has been leaving our solar system’s heliosphere, that’s the last part of what is officially considered our solar system, before it enters uncharted and unknown deep space. The heliosphere is a bubble of charged particles surrounding our solar system and, since the Voyager was built to last, it’s been reporting back on what it finds there via radio. It’s detecting the heliosphere’s energy particles around it and beginning to detect increased heat, as it boldly goes where humanity has never been before.
Voyager 1 is now 11,100,000,000 miles away from the little blue dot called Earth, the only place in the universe where you can find an intelligent race called “humanity”.
Walking on the moon, splitting the atom, both great achievements, but ultimately fleeting. If the Earth is destroyed tomorrow, there will be no sign that any of it ever happened. But Voyager 1 will keep going. No matter what happens to us now, in Voyager 1, we know that at least some piece of us will continue on. That’s huge.
Think about it for a second. We’ve sent something out of the solar system. This is humanity screaming as loudly as it can out into the cosmos. To the cosmos and anything listening out in it, our voice is only the tiniest, almost undetectable whisper; yet for the first time in the billions of years this universe has existed, there’s something out there delivering the most important message humanity will ever send…
“We are here. We are here. We are here.”
It’s the only message that matters. This is the most important thing humanity has ever done. Tune in to your local news tomorrow night. They won’t be talking about it. They won’t be talking about it because we no longer care, but maybe we should. To the universe, we’re just a tiny little speck. But this speck has a voice. Maybe it’s time we shouted louder.
NASA reports that Voyager 1 has enough battery life to keep reporting back until the year 2020. After that it goes silent, it will become a dead relic drifting endlessly through the stars. Maybe someday, someone or something will find it and wonder who made it. Maybe they won’t. But even if we never do shout any louder, Voyager will be out there, sailing through the cosmos. Somewhere out there is tangible evidence of an intelligent race of people which once lived on a tiny blue speck and reached out into the stars to shout: We are here! We are here!
(Original article is from HERE)
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http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/science/thirty.html From the timeline, it looks as if Voyager 1 is expected to live slightly longer than its sister Voyager 2.