Re: 35 years later, Voyager 1 is heading for the stars
Great science fiction consists of about 15% science and 85% fiction. What makes it so popular is that there is enough science to make it sound credible and enough friction to keep it intriguing.
Originally Posted by Bellicose
And the fact that the average U. S. citizen has absolutely no facility for things science (too much math) helps science fiction writers tremendously. Gallup’s most recent poll shows that 1 in 5 (20% American adults) believes that the Sun orbits the Earth simply because they see the Sun “moving” across the sky!
The Sun does not rise, set, or move across out sky; Earth spins counter-clockwise on its polar axis. When it has spun sufficiently enough to occult the Sun below the local horizon, it gets DARK.
Anyway, there’s no “big GLASS bubble” at the edge of our solar system or at the edge of any other solar system. Einstein nailed this down in 1905. Both, Voyager I and II, are at the edge of our SOLAR system, not the Milky Way Galaxy.
However, what I’d like to know is how you figured that “we are roughly 8,906,980,000 (to clarify, that’s about 8.907-BILLION) miles from the sun.” There is no “roughly” about it; we’re nowhere near that far from the Sun. If we were, we wouldn’t be here discussing it.
Prior to Pluto being downgraded to a dwarf planet, it was the farthest major planet from the Sun (in our solar system) at an approximate mean distance of 3.7-BILLION miles. And, while I’ve never made the trip myself, I’ve known Ed Stone—lead project director for Voyager—since 1967; and he assured me that it’s indeed COLD on Pluto. He had to take extra thermal insulated long johns!
Earth, on the other hand, orbits the Sun at a mean distance of 92,960,000 (to clarify, that’s about 93-MILLION) miles. It farthest from the Sun in the summer time (about 95-MILLION miles) and nearest to the Sun in the winter time (about 91-MILLION miles).
As for the “68-kilobytes” of memory, it was a typo on the part of U. S. News. It should have been 64-kilobytes. And, to clarify even more, it was core memory—similar to what we call RAM memory. Even more important still, it’s machine level memory (binary digits of 0’s and 1’s).
That was plenty of memory—and still is—to transmit the data that the Voyager probes would be transmitting. Digital technology as we know it didn’t exist in the early ‘70s as the Voyager mission was being designed.
Voyager is transmitting radio signals (waves) at the speed of light (approximately 186,000 miles per SECOND. These have nothing to do with wifi. But as fast as this is, it’s still going to take a minimum of about 17 days for a radio signal to travel 11-billion miles.
Even if the pessimists are right, in the end, the optimists will have had a much more enjoyable trip through life.