For the first time in the history of humankind something we have created as a species has exited our solar system. More specifically, NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe, which was launched in 1977, has made a journey of over 11.7 billion miles of left the realm of planets who call the magical red star the sun their home.
This of course uncovers an entire world of very new questions. First and foremost being if the instruments installed on the probe will continue to function as the probe drifts further and further away into the galaxy away from our planet and its neighbors. In a macro manner of thinking though, this is certainly worlds beyond the last truly significant space news which hasn’t occurred since the 1960s when we walked on the moon. Well I suppose that is contingent on believing that event happened, but I’m personally not trying to get punched in the face by an astronaut for disputing something just for conspiracies sake. If you happened to miss that reference, a quick search of astronaut punches someone should do the trick. And I think it definitely happened purely on the fact that if it didn’t then Russia or China would have been more than happy to call our bluff, but that’s just me.
Voyager 1 will basically be traveling through an abyss of space for the next 40,000 years until reaching any sort of verifiable destination. At that time it will predictably make contact with a dwarf star named AC+793888, so good luck remembering both participants in that rendezvous.
Another interesting facet of this development, albeit a possibly disappointing facet, is that Voyager 1 has not sent any images back to NASA since 1990. Now NASA claims the lack of images is due to the desire to conserve energy for the inner workings of the space probe, but if that was the case why would it arbitrarily stop in 1990? The sister probe, Voyager 2, also stopped sending back images quite a while ago, so this tends to dull the excitement of the day’s events a bit.
That being said, Voyager 1, may be entirely capable of transmitting images back to the Earth in its current state and the claims surrounding energy conservation for the probe could be fully merited, in which case we potentially be able to see things that no humans ever have before. The Hubble telescope has provided the scientific community with staggering beautiful images of deep space, so one could only dream of the caliber of reality space art that could only be accessed but getting just a bit closer. We probably won’t have to wait the entire 40,000 years for Voyager 1 to provide us with something we have never experienced before, but what that is it is quite too early to say. It could be new information about the event horizons of black holes or possibly an observation of chemicals which cause reevaluation biology as we know it. Or maybe the instruments will fail in a way we could never have predicted and it will explode. Either way, my interest in space exploration remains prone and eager.