Voyager Leaves Solar System Behind

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( — September 12, 2013) Portland, ORNo longer the stuff of science fiction, but science fact, mankind is moving “out of this world”.

The spacecraft first encountered the boundary in 2004 but has taken another 8 years to cross the border, even at speeds in excess of 38,000 miles per hour. Even at that speed it will still take more than 40,000 years to pass within 1.6 light years of Camelopardal.

Currently at 12 billion miles from home, Voyager 1 takes over 17 hours to “phone home” so ET has nothing to worry about.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 was part of a pair of spacecraft designed to explore the outer reaches of the solar system. Built with seventies technology and outfitted with a whopping 68 kilobytes of computing power, the probe is a testament to man’s technological achievement at that time. Even some of simpler hand-held devices today, have more memory than that!

Actually, the transition occurred in August 2012 but since an instrument failure in 1980, alternate methods were needed to confirm that the event had occured.

In the event either of the Voyager probes encountered ET, they were outfitted with a gold-plated laser disc, containing photos, music, various greetings and a range of other scientific information, to prove that mankind was “intelligent.” 

This notion of insterstellar invitation was the theme in the 1980 feature film Star Trek, where the cast of the original series; William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig and James Doohan, reprised their roles. In the film, Voyager accepts our invitation and returns home as “Vger”.

So where is Vger heading now?

To quote Buzz Lightyear, “to infinity … and beyond!”