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Before the heliosheath
September 15, 2010 11:43 PM   Subscribe

Emily Lakdawalla has published the first 42 of 99 Voyager Mission Status Bulletins (thanks to space fan Tom Faber). Before the days of the internet, updates on space missions were distributed via newsletter. From 1977-1990 NASA published these Voyager newsletters to update scientists and enthusiasts. Both Voyager I and Voyager II are still out there, hurtling toward the stars. Voyager I and II weekly status updates from 1995-present are currently available online. Lakdawalla will be publishing the rest of the bulletins after she indexes them.
posted by IvoShandor (15 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice! I remember getting stuff in the mail from Moffit Field and the Soviet space stuff which for some reason which smelled like noodles.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:58 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice. V'ger has a blog.
posted by hanoixan at 12:08 AM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nice! I remember getting stuff in the mail from Moffit Field and the Soviet space stuff which for some reason which smelled like noodles.

Haha @ noodles. Your comment reminded me that when I was young, elementary school/junior high age, I used to write pretty much every NASA location for images and information. They would send me huge piles of stuff, pictures of all the outer and inner planets. I have all kinds of Voyager images, Galileo images, Magellan images, just loads of stuff. They even sent me astronaut autographs, though I am pretty sure they are facsimiles or in some way non-authentic because some of them would be pretty valuable if not. I always though it was really neat that NASA did this. Now it's all online. There was something special about receiving large manila envelopes from JPL or Ames or wherever else I wrote. Just a really unique memory for me and your comment jogged it, thanks. Sorry to but in here, but I just had to.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:13 AM on September 16, 2010


Both Voyager I and Voyager II are still out there...
Having traveled more than 21 billion kilometers on its winding path through the planets toward interstellar space, the spacecraft is now nearly 14 billion kilometers from the sun. Traveling at the speed of light, a signal from the ground takes about 12.8 hours to reach the spacecraft.
Ping that machine at lunchtime today and you won't get a response until tomorrow afternoon. That's somewhat far away.
posted by pracowity at 1:26 AM on September 16, 2010


Voyager 1 performance was nominal during this report period. Activity included turning on the AB Gyros on 7/30 [DOY 212].

Voyager 2 performance was nominal during this report period. Activity included a PMPCAL on 7/27 [DOY 208].
I gives me a weird feeling (chills? euphoria? vertigo?) to learn that they are still sending signals to these suckers, and that they respond, do things, and report on it.

However...
Science instrument performance was nominal for all activities during this period.
They're just going through the motions....
posted by Jimbob at 1:34 AM on September 16, 2010


Some names on the Voyager Imaging Team, from the Feb 2, 1979 newsletter:

C. Sagan - Cornell University
E.M. Shoemaker - USGS

I'm getting all teary.
posted by Jimbob at 1:37 AM on September 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nice! I remember getting stuff in the mail

I used to write to NASA, too, and get all happy when I'd get a big manilla envelope back stuffed with color photos and flight reports. I also wrote to the USSR embassy once and got some great stuff (obviously printed using different methods -- I could smell and feel the ink) about various Heroes of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
posted by pracowity at 2:10 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Day 1,238,384: Nothing to report.
Day 1,238,385: Nothing to report.
Day 1,238,386: Nothing to report.
Day 1,238,387: Nothing to report.
Day 1,238,388: CLASSIFIED.
Day 1,238,389: Nothing to report.
Day 1,238,390: Nothing to report.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:05 AM on September 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Every time I think of the Voyagers, I think of the line from Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

If one could swim at 18 or so kilometers per second.
posted by SNWidget at 5:36 AM on September 16, 2010


This reminds me of one of my favorite images. As Voyager 1 was leaving the solar system, it turned around and looked back.
posted by vacapinta at 5:53 AM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


The moon garbage will only last 5 billion years - until the Sun becomes a red giant and swallows it up. The Voyager craft will last until the heat death of the Universe - which is as close to eternity as you can come. They are the most enduring monument that man will ever create.

And they said LPs would become extinct!
posted by Joe Beese at 7:04 AM on September 16, 2010


This reminds me of one of my favorite images. As Voyager 1 was leaving the solar system, it turned around and looked back.

That photo just isn't the same unless you're listening to Carl Sagan's voice describing it.
posted by schmod at 7:13 AM on September 16, 2010


What is amazing is how much they were able to tweak this thing after it left the launchpad. A few months after launch, the primary receiver failed and the backup receiver blew a capacitor and had to be reprogrammed to compensate for heat changes in the spacecraft. This, after seven days of non-contact.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:49 AM on September 16, 2010


I'm sort of amazed that it's still functioning (what design! what engineering!) but the thought of it leaving our solar system and heading - still transmitting - into deep space makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand right up. It's my cherished hope that one day we'll be able to catch up with it. Perhaps give it an overhaul and then - instead of bringing it back home and turning it into a monument - launch it on it's way again.

Chills, I tell you.
posted by ninazer0 at 12:40 AM on September 17, 2010




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