spaceplasma:

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Whether and when NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, humankind’s most distant object, broke through to interstellar space, the space between stars, has been a thorny issue. For the last year, claims have surfaced every few months that Voyager 1 has “left our solar system”.
Voyager 1 is exploring an even more unfamiliar place than our Earth’s sea floors — a place more than 11 billion miles (17 billion kilometers) away from our sun. It has been sending back so much unexpected data that the science team has been grappling with the question of how to explain all the information. None of the handful of models the Voyager team uses as blueprints have accounted for the observations about the transition between our heliosphere and the interstellar medium in detail. The team has known it might take months, or longer, to understand the data fully and draw their conclusions.
Since the 1960s, most scientists have defined our solar system as going out to the Oort Cloud, where the comets that swing by our sun on long timescales originate. That area is where the gravity of other stars begins to dominate that of the sun. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 1 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly about 30,000 years to fly beyond it. Informally, of course, “solar system” typically means the planetary neighborhood around our sun. Because of this ambiguity, the Voyager team has lately favored talking about interstellar space, which is specifically the space between each star’s realm of plasma influence.
Voyager 1, which is working with a finite power supply, has enough electrical power to keep operating the fields and particles science instruments through at least 2020, which will mark 43 years of continual operation. At that point, mission managers will have to start turning off these instruments one by one to conserve power, with the last one turning off around 2025.
The spacecraft will continue sending engineering data for a few more years after the last science instrument is turned off, but after that it will be sailing on as a silent ambassador. In about 40,000 years, it will be closer to the star AC +79 3888 than our own sun. (AC +79 3888 is traveling toward us faster than we are traveling towards it, so while Alpha Centauri is the next closest star now, it won’t be in 40,000 years.) And for the rest of time, Voyager 1 will continue orbiting around the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, with our sun but a tiny point of light among many.

For more information about Voyager, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/voyager and http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov.
Model, Tsiolkovsky Space Craft
Soviet model makers built this spacecraft based on the designs and notes of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Late in his life, much of Tsiolkovsky’s theoretical work focused on ideas about transporting humans into space on board rockets. Although this model, reflecting the scientist’s ideas, grossly overestimates the living space available on board a rocket, it does convey a sophisticated understanding of the physical constraints of space travel for that time. Among Tsiolkovsky’s concerns were the effects of acceleration and weightlessness on the human body
via smithsonian

JPL 101 ↘

simply beautiful - like almost all work done at JPL.

First Listen: Jenny Lewis, 'The Voyager' : NPR ↘

"Nostalgia has no place for the woman traveling alone,’ the great travel writer Mary Morris once wrote. ‘Our motion is forward, whether by train or daydream.’ She’s describing a necessary ruthlessness: Women are so often defined by their attachments (family, romance, even the fetishes of style) that becoming light enough to move often requires behavior others might read as cruel or, at best, distanced. ‘Nothing lasts forever when you travel time,’ Jenny Lewis sings in a deliberately spacey drawl during the title track of her rich new solo album, The Voyager. The song, with its gentle string crescendos and angelic backing vocals by First Aid Kit, seems at first like a panegyric to the spirit of wanderlust. But Lewis’ version of the Voyager — the NASA craft, currently floating beyond human perception? the only Star Trek ship to be captained by a woman? — goes up in smoke."

i didn’t think i could love you anymore, jenny lewis - but then you drop voyager. there’s always a little bit of magic left everywhere.

we-are-star-stuff:

Opportunity passes Russia for off-Earth driving record [via @MarsCuriosity]

phew!

break my little heart.
Gaza, by Way of ISS via the Atlantic

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my name is alana. i like sharing space art & connecting with others. LDL chronicles my exploration of the cosmos one daydream at a time.

email me: launchwithme@gmail.com

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