After 40 years of service, space probes "Voyager" was still in the ranks

Almost 40 years ago, the spacecraft "Voyager 1" and "Voyager 2" went on a journey, eventually becoming the most distant from the earth man-made space objects in the history of space exploration. As part of its mission both probes have spent nearly two decades just to get to the two gas giants in our solar system - Jupiter and Saturn. And while the "Voyager 1" has decided not to stay in the system and immediately rushed to its external borders, "Voyager 2" on his way to visit Uranus and Neptune also became the first space probe in history who spent a study of these worlds.

After 40 years of service, space probes

At the end of this summer, the probes will be celebrating the 40th anniversary since its launch - August 20 and September 5 respectively. Despite the fact that the spacecraft fly for so long and are far away from home, they still keep in touch with the space agency NASA, sending him valuable information. Therefore, we can confidently say that in addition to the fact that they are the most distant spacecraft "Voyager 1" and "Voyager 2" is performed also the longest mission in the history of space exploration.

In addition to the duration and distance space missions, "Voyager" can be attributed, and many other achievements. For example, in 2012, "Voyager 1" was the first and only spacecraft to have reached interstellar space. In turn, the "Voyager 2" was the first and only probe to explore all four gas / ice giants in our solar system - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

After 40 years of service, space probes

Launch of the space mission "Voyager 2". August 20, 1977 The merits aids can also be added first discovery of active volcanoes outside the Earth (Io, Jupiter), receiving the first evidence of the probable presence of subsurface ocean in Europe, acknowledgment dense atmosphere around Titanium (single planetary object, not including the earth having a dense and rich in nitrogen atmosphere), the opening of a rocky surface Uranus Miranda satellite and ice geysers Triton largest Neptune satellite.

All these discoveries have brought enormous benefits to the astronomical community and paved the way for the launch of new space missions: sending probe "Galileo" and "Juno", "Cassini-Huygens", and "New Horizons."

"I think that a few missions will be able to achieve this level of scale which have the mission of" Voyager "for almost 40 years, furrowing the expanses of space. They opened for us the unknown wonders of the universe and truly inspired humanity to explore our solar system and the space outside it ", - said Thomas Tsurbyuhen, head of the NASA Science Mission Directorate management in a recent press release.

But perhaps the most memorable missions around the "Voyager" is that they are on board. On the skin of each spacecraft fixed so-called Golden Records, which recorded a collection of various terrestrial sounds, images, and messages with the coordinates of the Earth, and information about human history and culture. These plates are a kind of "time capsules" and media messages for any advanced civilization, which can meet on their way, of our existence.

After 40 years of service, space probes

both "Voyager", launched in 1977, are with a 12-inch gold-plated plates with images and sounds of Earth

As mentioned above, the devices continue to communicate with NASA space agency and gave him valuable scientific information. Probe "Voyager 1" at the time of writing this article is approximately 20, 9 billion kilometers (or 140 astronomical units) from the Earth. In relation to the plane of the planets, the probe continues to move northward into interstellar space and send us information about cosmic rays, which in interstellar space is four times denser than the Earth.

From this, scientists have found that the heliosphere - a space in which there are planets in the solar system, and there is the solar wind - acts as a kind of shield against external radiation. From a significant amount of solar wind protects us Earth's magnetic field (otherwise the wind would just blew our atmosphere into space) and the space, called the heliopause, in turn, protects the system of planets from atomic nuclei moving through space at a speed close to the speed Sveta.

At the same time "Voyager 2" is approximately 17, 7 billion kilometers (114 and 3 AU) from the Earth. In relation to the plane of the planets, it moves to the south and the expectations should enter into interstellar space in a few years. As "Voyager 1", it also examines heliosphere interaction with the interstellar medium using the set of scientific instruments in which it measures the charge level of the particles, magnetic fields, radio waves and the solar wind plasma. As soon as the "Voyager 2" will enter interstellar space, both probes can simultaneously collect information about the interstellar medium in different areas. According to scientists, this may tell us more about the magnetic environment that protects our system and may provide new information about the history of the solar system. In addition, it will give us some idea of ​​what dangers to be faced as part of possible future missions into space.

After 40 years of service, space probes

to The illustration shows how the space telescope "Hubble" follows the paths of motion of spacecraft "Voyager 1" and "Voyager 2" as part of their journey through the solar system into interstellar space

"The fact that both probes are still active after all these years - a fact surprising", - Edward Stone said, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology and a former vice-president and director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and coordinator of the program "Voyager" .

"None of us, when we run these probes 40 years ago, and could not even suggest that after 40 years, they will continue to work and to continue this innovative journey. It is possible that the most surprising of their opening will take place somewhere in five years. They can find something, the existence of which we might not even know about. "

Support for probes in working order always remained for scientists that has the task, as the amount of energy they produce is reduced approximately to the level of 4 watts per year. probes twin control, constantly lose energy, made of modern engineers to resort to the old schemes and drawings in order to better understand the capabilities of the software and command functions of ancient instruments. In addition, it also gave the opportunity to a former NASA's engineers, who worked in the "Voyager" to offer the younger generation their experience and expertise. The current team has estimated the program that the energy from the probes remained until 2030. However, even after that date, they will continue their movement along a paved path at a speed of 48,280 kilometers per hour, breaking one astronomical unit every 126 days.

After 40 years of service, space probes

The space probe "Voyager 1" began to fly through the so-called "cosmic purgatory" - the space between our solar system and interstellar space

At this rate, they will continue their journey until eventually after about 40,000 years will not reach the nearest star. According to forecasts, over 225 million years, "Voyagers" will make full orbital circled the Milky Way, unless, of course, during that time with what they have experienced. Therefore, it is possible that someday Golden plates find their destination. Again, one day they will even be able to find his way home, back to Earth, thereby notifying our distant, very distant relatives about life in the 20th century.