This is very cool. Voyager 1 is about to become the first manmade object to leave our Solar System and enter the Milky Way after more than three decades in space. I remember when it was launched in 1977. It has been moving at 11 miles per second through space. We also learned some interesting stuff about Vesta in the asteroid belt this week.
Now this is an example of a good governmental investment. Voyager I (Voyager II is not far behind) has already confirmed that “stagnation region in the outermost layer” around our solar system and has served as a type of “wind sock” — showing a low flow of energetic charged particles or space wind in this area. You may recall that it has a gold-coated copper phonograph record created by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan with sounds and greetings from Earth. It has enough power and fuel to operate until at least 2020.
Another cool discovery was made this week about Vesta, the largest object in the asteroid belt. It turns out that the 330-mile wide asteroid is not really an asteroid after all. Dawn has been orbiting Vesta and found that it is more like a planet with an inner core, most likely made of iron, and a mix of minerals on its surface. If you are looking for real estate, however, this is a rather beat up fixer-upper. Vesta has remarkably survived massive hits from asteroids, including one “290-mile diameter impact crater that left basin walls three times higher than Mount Everest.”
It is my sincere hope that the record on Voyager contains the following and will be activated when crossing the border into the Milky Way:
Live long and prosper, Voyager.
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