Captain
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Voyager 1, closing in on the edge of the solar system, has encountered a band of territory the scientist hadn't predicted.


Large side note, just for Trekkie kicks:
using the suggested dates in the article, Voyager 1 launched in 1977 and will possibly leave the solar system in 2015. So 38 years to the edge. And they're predicting necessitated shut downs by 2020 and power failure by 2025. So 48 year life span.

Fictional Voyager 6 launched in the late 20th century (Memory Alpha suggest 1999). Using 1999, that would suggest 2037 as the year it leaves the solar system. It encounters an anomaly some time after this event, and ends up across the galaxy. If it has the same build as Voyager 1, then it would need to encounter the Machine World before 2047 (power failure). But more likely, it would have better parts, having 22 years to enhance the design over Voyager 1.

YMMV: you may have info I've not encountered. Would love to hear it.
Starfleet Veteran
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# 2
07-01-2013, 11:52 AM
Cassini was launched in 1997, and its primary mission will end in 2017 (20 years total, 10 at full operation). Several options at that point have been offered, including running it until it fails, doing an impact study as was done with Galileo in 2002, or parking it in a stable orbit and using it to do magnetospheric or solar wind studies for as long as it operates. NASA never gave an estimate for how long it would operate.

However, one of the really interesting (rejected, but still interesting) options was moving it to another planet. Cassini will be able to leave Saturn and get itself on a course to one of the Centaurs or one of the other gas giants. It would only be a flyby (or possible impact).

The difficulty is in getting the course right - NASA's evaluation in 2008 was that the level of control and fuel they would have would probably only guarantee a Jupiter encounter, they would likely miss if they shot for Uranus or Neptune.

But let's be optimistic, the Neptune encounter's timeline would have the probe flyby or impact Neptune around 2060. The expectation is that it would at this point have roughly the same functionality left that the Voyagers do (so no glorious pictures of Neptune like it has gotten of Saturn, but an impact could still collect data that Voyager never did). That gives us a lower bound of 63 year lifespan (the open-ended options of keeping it at Saturn permanently instead of leaving or doing an impact study are expected to last longer than a Neptune transit, but no end point estimate has been given).


So, assuming Voyager 6 was technologically on par with Cassini, launched 2 years later it would have until at least 2062 and probably some time past that to encounter the anomaly.

Last edited by hevach; 07-01-2013 at 11:56 AM.
Commander
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# 3
07-02-2013, 04:58 PM
It could also be that the Borg probe found it after its power failure, and that's why the information it had was so scanty and corrupted.
Captain
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# 4
07-02-2013, 06:17 PM
Let's hope a Vulcan ship detects Voyager One leaving the solar system, and investigates Planet Earth.

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Captain
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# 5
07-02-2013, 07:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by stardestroyer001 View Post
Let's hope a Vulcan ship detects Voyager One leaving the solar system, and investigates Planet Earth.
You do know they are already among us, right? Have you used velcro recently?
Career Officer
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# 6
07-02-2013, 08:23 PM
This kind of stuff fascinates me. Right now there is a machine made by us flying through space 11 billion miles from Earth. And it may be exiting our solar system and hitting interstellar space. That's so freaking awesome! I have a question, does the voyager 1 speed increase as the distance between it and our Sun increases? If so, once it hits interstellar space, where there should be no kind of gravitational pull, would it be able to go even faster? My thinking is we don't really know how far this thing can get before 2020 if that is the case. Whats the nearest system to us? No one make fun of me but is it Alpha Centauri? Whatever it is we should go there next.
Republic Veteran
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# 7
07-02-2013, 08:57 PM
I hope it does not come back seeking the creator


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# 8
07-02-2013, 10:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by felixhex View Post
This kind of stuff fascinates me. Right now there is a machine made by us flying through space 11 billion miles from Earth. And it may be exiting our solar system and hitting interstellar space. That's so freaking awesome! I have a question, does the voyager 1 speed increase as the distance between it and our Sun increases? If so, once it hits interstellar space, where there should be no kind of gravitational pull, would it be able to go even faster? My thinking is we don't really know how far this thing can get before 2020 if that is the case. Whats the nearest system to us? No one make fun of me but is it Alpha Centauri? Whatever it is we should go there next.
No, Voyager hasn't been accelerating for a very long time, since it separated from its launch vehicle. It only has some maneuvering and alignment thrusters on itself, and those were out of fuel years ago. There is no force to accellerate it - the force of the solar wind on it is far less than the force of the sun's gravity slowing it.

It's actually losing speed, since even outside the heliopause it's still in the sun's gravitational domain. The Oort cloud's inner range is believed to be orbiting about 50,000 AU from the sun - Voyager is not quite 125 AU out and going ~3.5 AU/year. It's over escape velocity, so it will escape, but it will continue to slow down for ten to twenty thousand years.


It's going in the wrong direction for Alpha Centauri. It's heading towards Ursa Minor, the next star it will encounter will be a 1.6 light year flyby Gliese 445, with closest approach estimated for the year 40272.

Interestingly, it will be more that Gliese 445 will be flying by Voyager - it's moving much faster than Voyager is, and when Voyager and Gliese meet, they'll be closer than Alpha Centauri, about 3.45 light years away.

At that time it will be the second closest star to the sun, Ross 248 will be even closer, and coincidentally will have a similar encounter with Voyager 2 around the year 42189, just over 3 light years away.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
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# 9
07-03-2013, 07:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hevach View Post
It's heading towards Ursa Minor, the next star it will encounter will be a 1.6 light year flyby Gliese 445, with closest approach estimated for the year 40272.
Hmm, at that rate, we'll be picking it up on our way over to explore.

Year 40272 is a bit boggling. Star Trek only projects out to the 29th century, last I recall. In comparison, Dune is set over 21,000 years hence. That would still leave around 17,000 years to go.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Aug 2012
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# 10
07-04-2013, 10:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by steamwright View Post
Hmm, at that rate, we'll be picking it up on our way over to explore.

Year 40272 is a bit boggling. Star Trek only projects out to the 29th century, last I recall. In comparison, Dune is set over 21,000 years hence. That would still leave around 17,000 years to go.
Yup. By that time we'll probably look a lot like this
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