Voyagers have been flying in space for 45 years, including tape recorder and less memory than an average smartphone

Voyagers have been flying in space for 45 years, including tape recorder and less memory than an average smartphone
Voyagers have been flying in space for 45 years, including tape recorder and less memory than an average smartphone

The probes are built to last, with as few moving parts as possible because movement inevitably involves wear. And they were equipped with the most modern that existed at the time, but now they are a kind of time capsule of that time and sometimes touchingly old-fashioned.

For example, they each have an 8-track tape recorder on board to store their data until it can be sent to Earth, they have 3 million times less memory than an average smartphone and they transmit their data about 38,000 times slower than an average smartphone. 5G internet connection.

And yet they remain at the forefront of space exploration. After all, the two space probes, operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, are the only spacecraft to explore interstellar space—the galactic ocean through which our sun and its planets move.

The sun and the planets reside in the heliosphere, a protective bubble formed by the sun’s magnetic field and the outward flow of the solar wind, charged particles from the sun. Researchers, some of whom are younger than the two space probes, are combining Voyager observations with data from newer missions to get a more complete picture of our sun and learn how the heliosphere interacts with interstellar space.

“The fleet of the heliophysical [de fysica van de zon betreffende] mission provides us with invaluable insights into our sun, ranging from understanding the corona or outer part of the sun’s atmosphere, to investigating the impact of the sun throughout the solar system, including here on earth, in our atmosphere , and beyond into interstellar space,” said Nicola Fox, the director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA headquarters in Washington.

“Over the past 45 years, Voyager missions have played a vital role in providing this knowledge and have helped change our understanding of the sun and its influence in ways no other spacecraft can.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Voyagers flying space years including tape recorder memory average smartphone

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