Thursday, August 15, 2013

Voyager 1 May Have Already Entered Interstellar Space

This artist's concept shows NASA's Voyager spacecraft against a field of stars in the darkness of space. Image Credit: 

A newly published paper argues that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has already entered interstellar space. The model described in the paper is new and different from other models used so far to explain the data the spacecraft has been sending back from more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) away from our sun.

NASA's Voyager project scientist, Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, explains:

"Details of a new model have just been published that lead the scientists who created the model to argue that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft data can be consistent with entering interstellar space in 2012. In describing on a fine scale how magnetic field lines from the sun and magnetic field lines from interstellar space can connect to each other, they conclude Voyager 1 has been detecting the interstellar magnetic field since July 27, 2012. Their model would mean that the interstellar magnetic field direction is the same as that which originates from our sun."

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture -- source

Spock comments that each one of us, at some point in our lives asks, "Why am I here?" "What was I meant to be?" V'Ger hopes to touch its Creator and find those answers. DiFalco directs Kirk's attention to the viewscreen. Ahead of them is a structure with a bright light. Sulu reports that forward motion has stopped. Chekov replies that an oxygen/gravity envelope has formed outside of the ship. "Ilia" points to the structure on the screen and identifies it as V'Ger. Uhura has located the source of the radio signal and it is straight ahead. A passageway forms outside the ship as Kirk Spock, McCoy, Decker, and "Ilia" enter a turbolift.

The landing party exits an airlock on the top of the saucer section and walks up the passageway. At the end of the path is a concave structure, and in the center of it is an old NASA probe from three centuries earlier. Kirk tries to rub away the smudges on the nameplate and makes out the letters...

V G E R.