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Where is Voyager 1 headed?

  1. Mar 15, 2016 #1
    From what I can gather, Voyager 1 is headed in the direction of Sagittarius and the center of the Milky Way. Will Voyager 1 eventually get sucked into the black hole at the center?

    Furthermore, where is the Earth within the Milky Way in terms of up/down? The galaxy is 1,000 LY thick, but how close are we to the top?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2016 #2

    davenn

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    no

    from wiki

    Future of the probe[edit]

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/gallery/galaxy-location.html


    Dave
     
  4. Mar 15, 2016 #3
    Thanks, now what about the golden record? Is Voyager spewing out radio signals to alert any potential aliens of its existence? How would intelligent aliens even notice and get ahold of the golden record? Wouldn't they have to slow it down and capture it? I wonder if a similar alien probe was flying by the Earth at 30 miles per second whether we humans would be able to and prepared to retrieve it.
     
  5. Mar 15, 2016 #4

    davenn

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    Ohhh and I forgot to comment .....

    that statement is basically incorrect
    Like the majority, the galaxy, is not a constant thickness throughout
    most spiral galaxies have a central bulge and are more or less similar to this pic, ....

    capture1367202430462.jpg


    Dave
     
  6. Mar 15, 2016 #5

    Drakkith

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    It is not. The main dish is pointed back towards Earth and its transmissions are purely devoted to returning scientific data. In addition, the RTG's powering Voyager 1 have already dropped to just over half of their original power output. Somewhere around 2025 the power output will drop below minimum acceptable levels and the spacecraft will essentially be "dead", incapable of transmitting anything.

    They'd have to somehow detect the spacecraft and then physically capture it.

    If we had good reason to suspect it was an alien probe I'm almost certain we'd devote every possible resource to capturing it. It would be one of the greatest discoveries in history.
     
  7. Mar 16, 2016 #6
    Sure, of course we would try, but detecting and capturing a probe traveling 11 miles per second would likely not be easy. How would we slow it down? Also, it would be interesting to see what the government would do if we detected it passing by but were not prepared to capture it. Would it be feasible to then launch some sort of spacecraft to chase after it and send it back to Earth?
     
  8. Mar 16, 2016 #7

    Drakkith

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    I suppose we could send out a probe of our own to catch up to it (or wait for it to carch up with oyr probe) and catch it with a clamp or net or something.
     
  9. Mar 16, 2016 #8
    It's aimed at species that are far far more advanced than we are, you'd have to be able to patrol interstellar space. It has a shelf life of it is something like a billion years.
     
  10. Mar 16, 2016 #9
    With that in mind, it is a shame that civilizations slightly less advanced than ours would have very little chance or capturing or detecting Voyager even if it made a close approach to their planet.
     
  11. Mar 16, 2016 #10

    Janus

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    We'll just have to hope that someone with the right attitude finds it:
     
  12. Mar 16, 2016 #11
    Human's wouldn't see it either. There could be hundreds of alien probes in our solar system for all we know. We only really scan the space immediately around the Earth, and that's most tracking already known objects or looking for things like ballistic missiles. If Voyager's antenna was turned off, it could fly right between Earth and the Moon, and we'd never see it; and that's less than a light second away. Voyager's message is aimed at the type of civilization that can detect a small, cold object in a cubic light year.

    A few months ago humans lost a 747 on the surface of our own planet. Voyager is a thousand times smaller.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  13. Mar 16, 2016 #12

    mfb

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    It is not heading towards the center of the galaxy. It is only heading in a direction where we also see the center of the galaxy. Both the sun and Voyager (and everything else in the solar system) orbits the central part of the galaxy with roughly 200 km/s. The speed of voyager is tiny compared to that, so it is still in a wide orbit around the central part.
    Even if we could have something actually heading for the galactic center: the black hole there is an incredibly tiny target. It would be really difficult to hit it.

    Apart from the directed emission of radio waves and the heat from its radioactive power source, we have no way to find a probe like Voyager unless it comes very close to Earth by pure chance (space is HUGE). And then we probably would not have enough time to prepare a capturing mission.
    We do not even know all the 100m-sized objects that cross our Earth's orbit - much larger than the Voyager probes, conveniently located in the inner solar system, and potentially dangerous.
     
  14. Mar 16, 2016 #13

    micromass

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  15. Mar 16, 2016 #14
    I suggest the message was aimed at ourselves, to make us appreciate our humanity, recognise our achievements as a species, and give us a sense of our place in the cosmos. It was a symbol, not a conventional communication.
     
  16. Mar 16, 2016 #15

    davenn

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    no, definitely not, it was definitely aimed at those who may find it .....

    no point in starting the audio recording with "Greetings from earth ( variations thereof in the different languages) .... " if it was aimed at us :wink:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...ger-1-carries-for-alien-civilizations/279662/

    http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/greetings.html



    Dave
     
  17. Mar 17, 2016 #16
    "We could launch a probe (like this one), send it out to Voyager, latch on, turn everything around, and let it spend a few decades slowing Voyager down."

    A few decades just to slow it down? The latching on part is what fascinates me the most. Unfortunately I haven't come across an explanation of this containing any detail. I wonder if NASA has published any information about how specifically they would envision aliens capturing Voyager (latching, clamping, lassoing, netting, etc.).
     
  18. Mar 17, 2016 #17
    Considering the vast delta in technology between Voyager and the type of species expected to find it, I imagine Voyager being like a wooden canoe and the aliens riding around in nuclear submarines. Humans capture much larger objects traveling at 18,000 mph (such as Hubble.) Once you match the object's speed, grabbing it is fairly easy and an interstellar species should certainly be able to match Voyager's speed, it'd be like a nuclear submarine trying to catch a canoe.
     
  19. Mar 20, 2016 #18
    Moreover, there is a precedent: the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko and chase her Probe Rosetta.
     
  20. Mar 20, 2016 #19

    mfb

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    The comet has a known orbit in the solar system, and Rosetta had 10 years of time to get aligned with that orbit.
     
  21. Mar 21, 2016 #20
    Therefore, you need to solve two problems:
    - Learn to count orbit;
    - Learn how to maneuver the machine in space.
     
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