Kuiper poses with a TARDIS. He is holding a sonic screwdriver in his mouth.

Voyager 1

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980

Kuiper found this TARDIS in my friend’s basement and said he wanted to borrow it to “visit Voyager and throw her a surprise birthday party.” I didn’t have the heart to tell them that his find wasn’t real. Instead, I gently reminded him that it’s not nice to take vehicles without asking, and that we should probably hold off till we can get permission from the Doctor.

40 years ago today, Voyager 1 took flight. Voyager 2 launched 15 days earlier; the craft were so named because 1 would reach Jupiter and Saturn first due to a different flight path.

They were only originally intended to visit two planets, but the extended mission of 2 was made possible due to an alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune which only occurs once every 175 years. By swinging from planet to planet, the journey to Neptune could be made in 12 years instead of 30.

We’ve learned a LOT from the Voyager mission. Between both spacecraft, we’ve received over 5 trillion bits of data. We’ve learned that Jupiter’s moon Io has active volcanoes, that its moon Europa has subsurface oceans, and that Saturn’s Titan has a surprisingly Earthlike atmosphere. This is pretty incredible stuff from spacecraft equipped with 8-track players and cables shielded and grounded with aluminum foil from the grocery store (the latter was added at the last minute.)

The cameras were turned off after the famous Pale Blue dot picture, but we’re still receiving info from several other instruments. We expect to hear from them till around 2025, which is when the power will run out. 🙁

The golden records sent with the craft include dog barks, as well as human laughter and greetings in 55 languages. Couldn’t find the breed of dog, but the laughter was Carl Sagan. The greetings were originally intended to be from UN delegates, but Sagan was insistent on using a mix of men and women to represent the gender balance of our species, and most were male. In the end, he recorded faculty of the foreign language department at Cornell University.

What would you include in a message to the stars?

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYqpri-Aun_/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *