Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight

Gene Nelson reminded me of the above NASA Bulletin. I have been so busy with 5th and 6th graders and their school requirements that I almost missed it. My thanks to Gene for reminding me. (Laptop display quit too, so used that as an excuse to buy a new one for the kids/me to use so learning how to navigate the HP Pavilian Entertainment PC that has more memory, disk space, and speed than the two year old laptop that should be back from repair in three weeks or so.)
- LRK -

Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark 30 Years of Flight
08.20.07 -- NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they head toward interstellar space. Their ongoing odysseys mark an unprecedented and historic accomplishment.
+ Full story
+ NASA Blog: What would you put on Voyager's Golden Record?
+ Voyager's Many Discoveries+ Audio clips for media

As I mentioned to Gene, it was always interesting when both Pioneer 10/11 and the Voyagers were competing for furthest out that either Ames (Pioneers) or JPL (Voyagers) would miss mentioning that the others spacecraft existed. Now the Pioneers are silent and the Voyagers are still talking.

We almost lost that too when NASA didn't seem to have the money to continue funding. The Voyagers are the furthest out of any spacecraft we have sent and it would be a shame to lose the information of what is out there just because there was no money to get the data and look at it.

I can think of places we could save a LOT of money but then someone would tell me to get off the soap box.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up and or down, if need be.
- LRK -

Larry Kellogg

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NASA - Pioneering NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of FlightPioneering

NASA Spacecraft Mark Thirty Years of Flight
WASHINGTON - NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they ... -

Passed on the NASA News list. - LRK -
Aug. 20, 2007

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Carolina Martinez/Jane Platt
Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif.

RELEASE: 07-205

WASHINGTON - NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they head toward interstellar space. Their ongoing odysseys mark an unprecedented and historic accomplishment.

Voyager 2 launched on Aug. 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 launched on Sept.5, 1977. They continue to return information from distances more than three times farther away than Pluto.

"The Voyager mission is a legend in the annals of space exploration. It opened our eyes to the scientific richness of the outer solarsystem, and it has pioneered the deepest exploration of the sun's domain ever conducted," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. "It's a testament to Voyager's designers, builders and operators that both spacecraft continue to deliver important findings more than 25 years after their primary mission to Jupiter and Saturn concluded."

During their first dozen years of flight, the spacecraft made detailed explorations of Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons, and conducted the first explorations of Uranus and Neptune. These planets were previously unknown worlds. The Voyagers returned never-before-seen images and scientific data, making fundamental discoveries about the outer planets and their moons. The spacecraft revealed Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere, which includes dozens of interacting hurricane-like storm systems, and erupting volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io. They also showed waves and fine structure in Saturn's icy rings from the tugs of nearby moons.

For the past 19 years, the twin Voyagers have been probing the sun's outer heliosphere and its boundary with interstellar space. BothVoyagers remain healthy and are returning scientific data 30 years after their launches.

Voyager 1 currently is the farthest human-made object at a distance from the sun of about 9.7 billion miles. Voyager 2 is about 7.8 billion miles from the sun. Originally designed as a four-year mission to Jupiter and Saturn, the Voyager tours were extended because of their successful achievements and a rare planetary alignment. The two-planet mission eventually became a four-planet grand tour. After completing that extended mission, the two spacecraft began the task of exploring the outer heliosphere."

The Voyager mission has opened up our solar system in a way not possible before the Space Age," said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "It revealed our neighbors in the outer solar system and showed us how much there is to learn and how diverse the bodies are that share the solar system with our own planet Earth."In December 2004, Voyager 1 began crossing the solar system's final frontier. Called the heliosheath, this turbulent area, approximately 8.7 billion miles from the sun, is where the solar wind slows as it crashes into the thin gas that fills the space between stars. Voyager 2 could reach this boundary later this year, putting both Voyagers on their final leg toward interstellar space.

Each spacecraft carries five fully functioning science instruments that study the solar wind, energetic particles, magnetic fields and radio waves as they cruise through this unexplored region of deepspace. The spacecraft are too far from the sun to use solar power. They run on less than 300 watts, the amount of power needed to lightup a bright light bulb. Their long-lived radioisotope thermoelectric generators provide the power.

"The continued operation of these spacecraft and the flow of data to the scientists is a testament to the skills and dedication of the small operations team," said Ed Massey, Voyager project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Massey oversees a team of nearly a dozen people in the day-to-day Voyager spacecraft operations.

The Voyagers call home via NASA's Deep Space Network, a system of antennas around the world. The spacecraft are so distant thatcommands from Earth, traveling at light speed, take 14 hours one-wayto reach Voyager 1 and 12 hours to reach Voyager 2. Each Voyager logsapproximately 1 million miles per day.

Each of the Voyagers carries a golden record that is a time capsule with greetings, images and sounds from Earth. The records also have directions on how to find Earth if the spacecraft is recovered bysomething or someone.

NASA's next outer planet exploration mission is New Horizons, which is now well past Jupiter and headed for a historic exploration of thePluto system in July 2015.

For a complete listing of Voyager discoveries and mission information,visit the Internet at:


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