Humans have been throwing things into deep space for 50 years now, with the 1972 launch of Pioneer 10. We now have five spacecraft that have either reached the edges of our solar system or are rapidly approaching it: Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and New Horizons.
Most of these explorers hated their expected death and are still working long beyond their original mission plans. These space probes were originally designed to explore our nearest planets, but now they are burning trails from the center solar systemAstrologers have been at outstanding single points in space — and until well into 2022.
Voyagers 1 and 2
The Voyager missions celebrated a very special anniversary this year; 45 years ago. From close flybys of the outer planets to human exploration of the far reaches of space, these two spacecraft have contributed immensely to astronomers’ understanding of the solar system.
Related: Voyager: 15 Incredible Images of Our Solar System Captured by the Twin Space Shuttles
Their main plan now is to explore where of the sunthe influence ends, and the influences of other stars begin. Voyager 1 crossing the heliopause, the boundary at which the flux of particles from the sun ceases to be most important, in 2012 with Voyager 2 the following year 2018
“Voyager 1 has been in interstellar space for a decade now…and it’s still going, still going strong,” Linda Spilker, Voyager project scientist and planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California told Space.com.
The mission team had one big hiccup this year when it started in space sending home garbled information from his place The engineers found the reason – it used space a bad piece of computer hardware when he had not – he restored the thing.
These types of incidents are to be expected with aging spaces, however. The team also actively manages the power supply of each ship’s boat, which is decreasing each year as the radioactive generators grow more inefficient. This year, the mission turned off the heating crew to place several scientific instruments on a hot plate in the harsh, cold environment of space — and, to everyone’s surprise, those instruments are still working perfectly.
Cameras were turned away decades ago, but other space instruments collect data on plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun at great distances from the star itself. Because the particles solar wind — a continuous onslaught of particles streaming from the Sun — only travel time, distant observations allow scientists to see how changes from the Sun propagate through our cosmic neighborhood.
The edges of the solar system were also full of surprises. It would make sense for the plasma from the Sun to become rarefied and spread out from the center of the solar system, but in reality, the Voyagers encountered a much denser plasma after crossing the heliopause. Astronomers are still stuck on that one.
“It is so amazing that even after this time we continue to see the influence of the sun in interstellar space,” said Spilker. “I’m looking forward to working on Voyager, maybe for the 50th anniversary.”
Pioneers 10 and 11
Spacecraft occupy a special place in the history of space because of their role as defenders. Unfortunately, these 50-year-old space miles are non-functional. Pioneer 10 to bring back lost communications in 2003, and Pioneer 11 He has been silent since his last contact in 1995.
But both of these ships are known for the presence of humanity in the solar world, and they still continue on their journey, although we do not send them commands and we no longer set fire to the reefs. When the trajectory of space is set from the solar world, according to the laws of physics, it will not stop unless something changes its course.
A new perspective
The new perspective is by far the least germane of these basic missions, which they have just launched in 2006. After completing his the most famous flyby of the dwarf planet in 2015 Plutothis probe is zooming in on the solar track on record, reaching the heliopause around 2040.
Not only did it complete its primary mission, but it successfully completed a smaller Kuiper Belt flyby; Arrokothin 2019 as its first mission extension. Earlier this year, the ship’s mode was put into hibernation because the extended mission had not yet been tested. And now the excited team is moving on to the New Horizons 2nd Extended Kuiper Belt Mission, or KEM2 for short. KEM2 started on day 1. Octhowever, the shippers will hibernate until March 1, 2023.
Meanwhile, the mission team is preparing new observations. With cutting-edge equipment — much more advanced than what the Voyagers carried in the 1970s — the team is preparing to use New Horizons as the most powerful observatory in the far solar system, a perspective we just can’t get here. earth.
Bonnie Burrati, a planetary scientist at JPL and a member of the New Horizons team, is especially looking forward to new ideas about Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), chunks of ice and rock beyond Neptune. Horizons’ unique new location in the outer solar system provides new angles for viewing these KBOs, he says. Astronomers can say different things about how rough the surfaces of objects are, among other things, according to how light scatters and creates shadows on them.
Another planetary scientist in the team from the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, Leslie Young, wants to use space to look at something new closer to home: ice giants; Uranus and Neptune The unique new perspective provides scientists with information about how light scatters through the planets’ atmospheres — something we can’t see from here on Earth, while we can’t see Uranus and Neptune from that angle. Planetary scientists are interested in more information about these planets, especially since NASA has launched a new mission to visit Uranus.
When space wakes up from hibernation, it will pass through what is known as the Kuiper Belt, where scientists now think there are far fewer KBOs. “When we look at other star systems, we see debris disks tending to much greater distances from their star populations,” Bryan Holler, an astronomer at the Baltimore-based Science Institute’s Space Telescope told Space.com. “If ET looked at our solar system, would they see the same thing?”
This next extended mission will also venture beyond New Horizons’ original domain of planetary science. Now, the spacecraft will provide better than ever measurements of light and cosmic perspectives in space, analyze the distribution of dust in our solar world, and obtain important information about the influence of the Sun, courtesy of the Voyagers. Since the three far-space functions tend in different directions, they allow astronomers to pinpoint irregularities in the structure of the solar system.
Fortunately for New Horizons, signs indicate that space is strong enough to last through the 2040s and possibly beyond — every year, moving 300 million miles (480 million) farther into unknown territory.
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