NASA apparently made it official yesterday, Voyager 1 has left the solar system and is now in interstellar space. Voyager 2 is on the verge of doing the same thing. The journey for both started 46 years ago in 1977. Think about that for minute, before we had the internet, before we had cable television as we know it today, before we had CDs, DVDs, EBooks, well you get the picture, we human beings launched 2 spacecraft that amazingly are still working and have left our little neighborhood here in the galaxy. Pretty F****** Amazing if you ask me.
Not only that, but those spacecraft, that carry only 64kb of memory, are expected to keep broadcasting back to us till 2025, 12 years from now and 58 years after they were launched. Now that’s being built to last.
One more interesting tidbit of those spacecraft is that they carry information on what our planet was like back in 1977. We sent greetings in different languages, music, pictures and other bits of information in the hopes that if someone out there finds it, they’ll better understand us. However, unless it’s stumbled upon by other spaceships, it’ll be about 40,000 years before it gets to another star system.
But here’s the thing to think about. For the first time, man has sent something outside of the solar system and unless something serious happens, likely it’ll still be going long after the planet is gone. Most likely something that we humans built, will exist until the end of the universe. That is just amazing.
I will add a warning though, to our future selves in the 23rd century. If a huge spacecraft approaches the planet seemingly destroying everything in its path, don’t fret too much it’s only Voyager making its return trip. Oh yeah, a few years after that someone will have to go back in time to grab some humpback whales, but that’s a warning for another time.
Originally published September 13, 2013