from NASA The Voyager 1 spacecraft has been traveling through interstellar space for more than a decade.
Unsurprisingly, its findings pique the interest of scientists and…pretty much everyone, given that it is the farthest man-made object from Earth, reaching farther than any probe of the story.
He’s back in the news from May 2022 – as NASA reveals it returned confusing data.
Information from the probe’s articulation and attitude control system (AACS) doesn’t quite match what’s happening on board, apparently, leaving experts confused.
In 2021, Voyager 1 made headlines for picking up a slight hum coming from beyond the limits of our solar system.
Curious? Naturally. Here is a bit more information about Voyager 1.
What is NASA Voyager 1 and what is it used for?
Voyager 1 was launched in 1977, along with another NASA space probe called Voyager 2.
It first passed through our solar system, reaching interstellar space – beyond the heliosphere, “a protective bubble” created by our solar system’s star, the Sun – in 2012.
Voyager 1 was the first probe to reach interstellar space, with another Pioneer 10 spacecraft and also Voyager 2 making the fateful crossing at later dates.
Originally, the probe was designed to explore the outermost planets of the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, but has continued to operate for much longer than expected.
Voyager 1 sends different types of data back to Earth, with important discoveries emerging in the 1970s/1980s.
He discovered two moons of Jupiter, Thebes and Metis, as well as a thin ring around the planet. Upon reaching Saturn, he found a new G ring plus five then unknown moons.
Voyager 1 then took an incredible 60 “family portraits” of the Sun with its planets in 1990, when the camera was turned off – to save power for the interstellar mission announced that year.
NASA says that one of the primary goals of the mission was to collect data regarding the transition of the heliosphere, through the heliopause and into interstellar space.
Just in case the probe encounters aliens, it contains a vinyl record of greetings in human languages, sounds from Earth, and a message from then-US President Jimmy Carter.
Symbols indicating how to play the disc using a needle and a cartridge are also included.
A complete timeline of Voyager 1 history is available at The NASA website.
Where exactly in space is the NASA Voyager 1?
Voyager 1 is nearly 14.5 billion miles – or 155.6 astronomical units (AU) – from planet Earth. It is already more than 14.5 billion kilometers from the Sun.
These numbers continue to increase as the probe moves rapidly. You can see its evolution live NASA Mission Status Tracker.
Eventually, Voyager 1 will reach other destinations thousands of years from now.
The Nasa website states: “In approximately 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will drift within 1.6 light-years (9.3 trillion miles) of AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation Camelopardalis which directs to the constellation of Ophiuchus.”
However, it will (obviously) not send data home. NASA says scientific data should stop around 2025.
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