Voyager one.

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prso1982

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Where is this craft headed? And does any one know how it is powered? I'm guessing it can't be solar being so far out.
 
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MeteorWayne

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LOL, it's headed "out there". I'm not sure of what's in that direction other than nothing for a few million years.

You are correct, it is not solar powered, it is powered by a radiothermal generator converting heat from the decay of Plutonium into electricity. As such, the amont of heat (and therefore electricity) is decreasing over time, and it will run out of power in about 10 years. There's a topic about it in Missions and Launches. I'll stick a link here in a few minutes when I find it.

In that thread is also a link to the NASA Voyager Website.
 
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Astro_Robert

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There is a NASA homepage about the: Voyager Millenium Mission. In this mission the two voyager spacecraft will continue to collect data until about ~2020 when they are expected to finally run too low on electricity to power any instruments.

Each spacecraft was sent out in a slightly different direction to explore the boundary between the influence of our Sun and the influence of everything else. Both Spacecraft have passed the 'Termination Shock' where the interstellar 'wind' is brought from supersonic flow down to subsonic flow, by passing through this shockwave. They are now in what is called the Heliosheath, heading towards the Helioshock. Scientists hope that the 2 spacecraft encounter this final shock prior to running out of energy and attitude control proppellent.

The two spacecraft are powered by the heat generated by the radioactive decay of Plutonium (which otherwise could be used for nuclear bombs). All Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTGs) currently operating beyond the orbit of Mars employ this technology. NASA has been working on Stirling generators and other more efficient replacements which could also generate higher power levels for more capable sensors and electric propulsion, but they are not available yet. I believe all of these replacements also rely on Plutonium, just use it differently.


Voyager Page
http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html
If you click on 'Mission' it will tell you all about the sensors and mission timeline.

All NASA Missions:
http://nasascience.nasa.gov/missions/mi ... phase_list


Hope this helps
 
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MeteorWayne

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Just 2 small corrections. They were not sent in different directions specifically to investigte the outer heliosphere in different locations, rather their trajectories are based on the residual motion from the missions to the outer planets.

Also the directions are pretty different; although the angle away from the sun from above th solar system is fairly close, V1 is headed well above the plane, and V2 below.

http://heavens-above.com/solar-escape.a ... 104&tz=EST
 
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Faroutbry

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Those links were very interesting and informative. That's pretty interesting information about the solar wind "shield" so to speak. It seems like there is a connection between the distance our heliosphere reaches and the size of our solar system. Where can I find more studies or information about the Heliosphere and it's effects on matter inside of it? There are so many questions that can come from this kind of information, and I suppose I'm not the only one, and probably not the only one in the dark. Information from that far out there can't be easy to get.
 
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MeteorWayne

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliosphere

The wiki page is OK, at least it's a good starting point. The "Refences and Further Reading" section has some good links, including one to the Voyager Mission goals (after the primary planetary mission)

It should be mentioned that we are really exploring this region for the first time. There were recent results from the IBEX mission which detected neutral atoms in high concentrations, not entirely an expected result. So we have a lot to learn :)
 
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Fallingstar1971

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I saw that picture posted from ibex. Great stuff. It kinda looked like a bow shock. Neutral Atoms. I am almost afraid to ask what phenomina could negate the charge of an Atom.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... r_1%29.png

Thats my favorite picture from voyager. Way out there and the sun is still so bright that it saturated the camera (look at how tiny that dot is, and how it washed the entire picture with glare) But it is the first time our entire family was grouped together in one frame in one solar system on an actual photo and not an artist rendition.

I was just a boy when the Voyager(s) went up. I remember those pictures of Saturns rings. I remember my teacher telling us that after Neptune, they would both be on their way out of the solar system. I remember daydreaming about the things they would see and find.

And now with IBEX we should be in a position to learn and see even more. Its amazing what Pioneer(s) and Voyager(s)started.

Star
 
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