(ORDO NEWS) — Everything that we see around us appeared as a result of the Big Bang. The countless number of stars and galaxies is amazing, but the search for intelligent life outside the Earth has not been successful.
It seems that we are drifting alone in the ocean of space without any purpose and meaning. But does this mean that there is no one else in the universe? The famous astronomer Carl Sagan did not think so and devoted most of his life to the study of the Universe.
So, in 1977, he contributed to the development and launch into space of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, on board of which there are gold plates with information about people and our planet.
To date, Voyagers have come further than any other spacecraft in history, but we are still alone. NASA engineers recently announced that the legendary probes are nearing the end of their lives. Is it time to say goodbye?
Outside the solar system
The Voyager voyage forever changed our knowledge of the solar system. Surprisingly, both probes are designed for only five years, and their main task was to study Jupiter and Saturn.
Note that 44 years have passed since the launch of the Voyagers, but the devices are still functioning and sending scientific data to Earth. At the same time, these space wanderers could not leave the solar system.
Recall that the Oort Cloud is considered the boundary of our star system – a cluster of small space objects held by solar gravity. According to the American space agency NASA, Voyagers will reach the inner edge of the heliosphere in about 300 years, and the final exit beyond it will take nearly 30,000 years.
Today, Voyager 1 is at a distance of 23.3 billion kilometers from Earth, and of the serviceable instruments, only four are functioning (Voyager 2 had five). Both vehicles were launched from Cape Canaveral in 1977 in the United States. Alas, by 2025 the service life of the Voyagers will expire, and therefore NASA is preparing to say goodbye.
In 1998, Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made space object at 6.5 billion miles from Earth, and built-in electrical appliances have stood the test of time, but the energy consumption of the system is rapidly declining.
The researchers believe that by 2030 Voyagers will most likely lose contact with Earth. But this does not necessarily mean that their mission is over – the path to the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, will take about 20,000 years, and NASA experts continue to work with probes.
Today, aba ships are so far from our planet that it takes almost 22 hours for a radio signal to reach Voyager 1 and just over 18 hours for Voyager 2. These conditions will persist even when moving at the speed of light, however, the study of the sent data is slow and difficult: our planet is a rather noisy place.
But is it worth it in this case to cut off contact with the Voyagers? According to some astronomers, trying to turn off instruments could be a waste of time and resources. The situation is complicated by the impact of the space environment on the probes – for many years these space wanderers were in the depths of the solar system.
Fortunately, so far communication with the devices has not been lost, and scientists have reported unusual signals received. To be more precise, the AACS (attitude articulation and control system) module does not reflect what is actually happening on board.
Responsible for the orientation of the probe and communications antennas, Voyager 1 sent strange telemetry data back to Earth. At the same time, the spacecraft itself is working properly, and its antenna is directed to the Earth.
NASA is beginning the process of shutting down spacecraft systems, according to a Scientific American report.
Recall that Voyager 1 reached “interstellar space” in 2012, and Voyager 2 reached 2018. not corresponding to reality. So scientists have a lot of work ahead of them.
On February 14, 1990, as Voyager 1 passed Uranus, it turned back toward Earth to photograph our planet as a faint blue dot, barely visible. This idea belonged to Carl Sagan, and four years later he shared his thoughts on the meaning of this legendary image in front of an audience at Cornell University.
Think of that pale blue dot. This is our house. This is us. Everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you’ve ever heard of, everyone has lived their lives here on Earth,” Sagan said in his famous speech.
Recall that each probe carries gold plates on which information about the Earth is recorded. The disc includes 115 images, greetings in 55 languages, the sound of wind, rain and even a human heartbeat.
A nice bonus for aliens will also be 90 minutes of music (provided that the inhabitants of other worlds can decipher the message on the plate).
Alas, not everyone considers sending Voyagers into space a good idea. Some researchers are convinced that if the probes ever fall into the hands of intelligent beings, humanity may regret the perfect act.
British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, for example, believed that in the event of contact with another civilization, humanity would be destroyed.
Carl Sagan, however, thought otherwise, because we have already announced our presence and location in the universe and continue to do so every day. “Our radio signals travel around at the speed of light, announcing to every star that there is intelligent life on Earth,” said the astrophysicist.
One of the reasons why we are still alone is the accelerating expansion of the Universe: every second the galaxies are moving away from us, and the chances of contacting someone else seem to be zero. But you should not be upset – if the Voyagers ever fall into the hands of aliens, these creatures will not feel lonely. And this is already a lot.
Contact us: [email protected]