Voyager 1

The First Messenger

Mankind's messenger at the final frontier.

It looks like a dustbin lid strapped to a cluster of fishing rods. Its computer is so puny it could not even start up your iPhone. And if E.T. wants to listen to the message it brings, he'll need a gramophone to play it on. But in the history of space exploration, there is not a probe that can touch the glittering career of Voyager 1, mankind's first messenger to the cosmos. Thirty-five years after it was launched, the doughty explorer is on the brink of leaving the Solar System and heading into the deep chill of interstellar space. More than 18 billion kilometers (11.25 billion miles) from home, Voyager is still yielding terrific science as it battles through the last fringes of our star system. One day, years from now--or maybe billions of years, no one knows--aliens might be surprised to run across an old spaceship from Earth. Improbably far from home, the ancient probe is space cold, its nuclear power source spent long ago; an iconic white antenna points silently into the void, beaming no data to the species that made it. Yet this Voyager may speak to its finders. It has been pointed out that the most probable finders of Voyager will be … us. Eventually, technology may allow humans to overtake and recover the distant probes. In that case, they will be reduced to mere time capsules from the year 1977. Arthur C. Clarke recognized this possibility and suggested adding a note to the Golden Record: "Please leave me alone; let me go on to the stars."


Because Voyager has a story to tell.


Kemo D. 7

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