Humanity is Breaching the Solar System

Gahars

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So space is big. Like, really, really big. It's kind of hard to visualize the grand enormity of the cosmos, let alone the size of the solar system (or even the distance between the planets). This has been one of the key obstacles in mankind's quest to roam among the stars.

"Yeah, we know, you never shut up about this stuff!" I hear you cry. I know, I know, but I just needed to provide a little context for what I'm about to tell you.

For the first time in history, a man-made object (NASA's Voyager 1) is leaving the solar system.

The Voyager 1, built by Nasa and launched in 1977 has spent the last 35 years steadily increasing its distance from Earth, and is now now 17,970,000,000km - or 11,100,000,000miles - away, travelling at 10km a second.

Indications over the last week implies that Voyager 1 is now leaving the heliosphere - the last vestige of this solar system.

...Voyager scientist Edward Stone told The Atlantic: 'This is the first time any spacecraft has been there.

'We're looking at our data every day - we listen to these spacecraft every day, for a few hours every day - to keep track of what's going on. ... It's very exciting from a scientific point of view, when you're seeing something that nobody's seen before.
icon11.gif
The Daily Mail

Here's a handy visualization.
article-2135653-12C881F6000005DC-512_634x357.jpg

If you want history in the making, folks, here it is. This is a pretty major accomplishment, and the data that Voyager (not that one) collects can give us a powerful insight into the very nature of this space between spaces. The craft's battery should last it until the year 2020, which gives us plenty of time to study and analyze its findings.

Yeah, yeah, this is no warp drive or first contact situation, but this is still a significant leap forward. We may have our (many, many, many) troubles at home, but humanity is reaching its hand out further and further to the stars. We're getting there, slowly but surely.

The final frontier just became a little less mysterious. I just can't wait to see where it takes us.

TL;DR:
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pyromaniac123

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The aliens will kill us all.
 

Tom Bombadildo

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Cool. A piece of space junk drifting in what is basically a black void for light years, sounds...interesting.


EDIT: If I remember my conversion right, the Voyager is traveling like... .000000000001 light years a second, and the next closet star is about 4 light years or more away.
 

pokefloote

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Okay, so I have ZERO knowledge about space, but I'm curious... What's the difference between solar systems? Like, what makes a boundary between two?
 

Tom Bombadildo

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Okay, so I have ZERO knowledge about space, but I'm curious... What's the difference between solar systems? Like, what makes a boundary between two?
A solar system basically consists of a star with objects revolving around it. It's tough to say when one ends and when one begins as solar systems are HUGE and we have yet to map all of our own. The most believed "boundary" would be the edge of the Oort Cloud (Google it) and even then we don't know how far it stretches.
 
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Bent

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What these scientists are talking about in this case though, the boundry of the solar system is the place where the sun's influence ends, that is, where the solar wind stops moving outward from the sun due to pressure from the interstellar medium.
 

pokefloote

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Okay, so I have ZERO knowledge about space, but I'm curious... What's the difference between solar systems? Like, what makes a boundary between two?
A solar system basically consists of a star with objects revolving around it. It's tough to say when one ends and when one begins as solar systems are HUGE and we have yet to map all of our own. The most believed "boundary" would be the edge of the Oort Cloud (Google it) and even then we don't know how far it stretches.
What these scientists are talking about in this case though, the boundry of the solar system is the place where the sun's influence ends, that is, where the solar wind stops moving outward from the sun due to pressure from the interstellar medium.
Thanks! That's what I thought initially, Bent. Like, where things stop going around our sun and begin revolving around something else.
 

Bent

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Thanks! That's what I thought initially, Bent. Like, where things stop going around our sun and begin revolving around something else.

Sort of but not quite. Gravity is adifferent force entirly, although the gravity of the sun out at those distances is not strong at all. Solar wind is plasma, ejected from the sun. It moves very fast, but since it is matter, it is susceptable to other forces. At the distances of the voyager probes, it has slowed down so much it is pretty much indistinquishable from the particles floating around out there. For some time now I believe that Voyager has been detecting the solar wind moving sideways, which means it was getting close.

By the way, I think most of what I am saying is accurate, but I am by no means an expert, just a space nut :) Look up solar wind and intersteller medium to be sure.
 

Rockhoundhigh

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It's ironic, we still haven't even managed to make exploring the ocean floor practical yet we've managed to send a satellite out of the solar system, granted all they had to was wait 35 years but still.
 

The Milkman

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60% chance im going to get a rude reply from Gahars but isnt the hubble telescope already burning through the sky at 1000 degrees or something?

Also, why dont we try fixing shit here before we look for more worlds to fuck up?
 

BORTZ

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Also, why dont we try fixing shit here before we look for more worlds to fuck up?
You know you are begging at way way more complicated stuff than a few calculations can figure out right?

Anyways. Wow. 10/10 would read again. Sheez. I love space and stuff. Its so freaking interesting to me. So mysterious and dark...
Calculated reason leads me to believe we are not alone, but are they intelligent or just mutations of animals and shiz? When will humanity actually reach into space? Live there, work there have wars there...

AAAAGHHH so much to think about!
 
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Gahars

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I HAVE BEEN SUMMONED.


60% chance im going to get a rude reply from Gahars but isnt the hubble telescope already burning through the sky at 1000 degrees or something?

Also, why dont we try fixing shit here before we look for more worlds to fuck up?

I can't say exactly, but that seems a bit... irrelevant (unless I'm just missing something here). The Hubble is in orbit around Earth, Voyager 1 was a probe we launched straight into space.

And in response to that second, oft asked question of "Why bother with space exploration? Shouldn't we just focus on our own problems first?"...

No. We have to [explore] and there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.
Man, I just love that show.
 
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BORTZ

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No. We have to [explore] and there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.

And that is just one answer. There are tons more. I mean humans are flawed beings, none of us are or ever will be perfect. There will always be conflict, disease, war, etc. Besides, I think space is way more interesting than many give it credit.

Like just for fun, imagine Voyager one... alone in space. Just a 1977 computer with legs...
Now imagine its battery going out.
------
It travels at the same speed and direction for EVER. imagine the things it will encounter? (Other than just stark nothing) Worlds, nebulas, stars, possible life or something. forever...
 
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Hanafuda

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I remember when it launched. I was ten years old and really into the whole space travel / NASA thing back then. I remember when Viking I landed on Mars, too. I even watched the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV, though I was only 2 years old at the time ... I have no memory of it but my parents made me sit and look at the television so I could say I watched it.
 
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Gahars

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This is ground breaking.

I'd love to see the progress and hear word of Voyager 1 in the next 35 years

Unfortunately, we're only going to get data from the next 8 years or so.

Still, as we send more probes into the cosmos (each with more advancements than the last), we'll see more and more of the universe surrounding us. It's going to take time, but it will be well worth the wait.
 

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No. We have to [explore] and there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.
Man, I just love that show.
I usually hear the sun still has 5 billion years to live (5 billion years already in existence, out of 10 billion total). Supposing that is correct, I believe we have enough time... but of course, earlier is always better.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#Life_cycle

I'm just wondering: is it really something that we have to rush for?
 

Gahars

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No. We have to [explore] and there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.
Man, I just love that show.
I usually hear the sun still has 5 billion years to live (5 billion years already in existence, out of 10 billion total). Supposing that is correct, I believe we have enough time... but of course, earlier is always better.

source: http://en.wikipedia..../Sun#Life_cycle

I'm just wondering: is it really something that we have to rush for?

It's worth noting that the speech isn't being literal when it refers to the sun's life cycle. The point is that the Earth won't last us forever; sooner or later (from one cause or another) it will go (It also serves as a bit of foreshadowing for the events of the show, but that's beside the point). If we don't explore and expand, it's taking us with it.
 
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