Space The Farthest (PBS) -- Great documentary about the Voyager probes

Robby

The News Robot
Set an alert: Do not miss The Farthest on PBS

reaches-interstellar-space-800x450.jpg

Enlarge / An icon of exploration. (credit: NASA/JPL)


I've made no secret that the Voyager probes' journey through the outer Solar System was a major influence on my childhood. So I was shocked to find out that I had missed the airing of what may be the definitive story of their mission. I was fortunate enough to correct my mistake thanks to NYU's science journalism program. For anyone else at all interested in science, NASA, space, or the human side of science, this review serves as a warning: the story will be shown one more time on November 15. Do not miss it.

The story is a documentary called The Farthest, a name that focuses on Voyager 1's current fate as the only human-made object to have left the Solar System. But the movie follows both Voyagers from when they were just an idea struggling to get funding, through potentially mission-ending issues, and on to their status as the definitive exploration mission of the last century. And The Farthest does all that primarily through the words of the scientists who ran the mission and analyzed the data in real time as it came in.

The scientists are quirky, expressive, passionate, and fundamentally human, things that are lacking from most portrayals in popular culture. The film helps you come away with the sense that, even though nobody has seen or touched this hardware in decades, the Voyagers are fundamentally a story of human endeavor.

(Read full story at Ars Technica)
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
D'oh, I had wanted to watch this one.

THE FARTHEST tells the captivating tales of the people and events behind one of humanity’s greatest achievements in exploration: NASA’s Voyager mission, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this August. The twin spacecraft—each with less computing power than a cell phone—used slingshot trajectories to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. They sent back unprecedented images and data that revolutionized our understanding of the spectacular outer planets and their many peculiar moons.

Still going strong four decades after launch, each spacecraft carries an iconic golden record with greetings, music and images from Earth—a gift for any aliens that might one day find it. Voyager 1, which left our solar system and ushered humanity into the interstellar age in 2012, is the farthest-flung object humans have ever created. A billion years from now, when our sun has flamed out and burned Earth to a cinder, the Voyagers and their golden records will still be sailing on—perhaps the only remaining evidence that humanity ever existed.

This time I'm making sure the DVR is set for the repeat on November 15. For the curious, on the PBS web page (The Farthest) they currently have a real time calculator going for how far away the Voyagers are.

 

Tom

An Old Friend
For any who miss it the video is available for streaming online

The Farthest ( 2017 )
The Farthest: It is one of humankind's greatest achievements. More than 12 billion miles away a tiny spaceship is leaving our Solar System and entering the void of deep space - the first human-made object ever to do so.

https://images.-.-/thumbs/2797917_The_Farthest_2017.jpg
  • Currently 4.37/5
(63 votes)
Ratings: IMDB: 8.8/10 Metascore: N/A RT: N/A
Released:
April 20, 2017
Runtime: 121 mins
Genres: Documentary
Countries: Ireland
Director: Emer Reynolds
Actors: Carolyn Porco Frank Drake John Casani Lawrence Krauss Timothy Ferris
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Watching it now.
I remember so much the NEWS coverage of these event.
I remember when the news of Uranus (your a nis) having all those moons.
Thanx for the reference Robby and Kevin, glad I watched this.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
upload_2017-11-6_18-39-43.jpeg


In the video it says that Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space in 2012.
It has not penetrated the Bow Shock. What it did was passed the edge of the heliopause.
There is speculation that the Bow Shock may not even exist. If you look at the graphic, it shows the heliosphere as elongated. That image is from NASA. Based on known data.

If the heliosphere is elongated it implies that the Sun's movement is creating a bow shock and the elongation of the heliosphere is proof of it.

Given the angle of the craft trajectories in relation to the heliopause, its possible that the Voyager craft could hit the bow shock and be pushed back and to the sides of the heliopause like a cork being pushed past a bow of a boat.

By the time that could happen, the power supply of both craft will be exhausted and both Voyager crafts will be nothing more than interstellar debris.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
... this is now also available for streaming on Netflix.

The interviews with the actual people involved with the missions are great. With about 8 more years of expected life to Voyager 1 it'll be really fascinating to see what the last image from it will be.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years
"With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years," said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

“The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters," said Jones, chief engineer at JPL.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, Voyager engineers fired up the four TCM thrusters for the first time in 37 years and tested their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses. The team waited eagerly as the test results traveled through space, taking 19 hours and 35 minutes to reach an antenna in Goldstone, California, that is part of NASA's Deep Space Network.

Lo and behold, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, they learned the TCM thrusters worked perfectly -- and just as well as the attitude control thrusters.

The plan going forward is to switch to the TCM thrusters in January. To make the change, Voyager has to turn on one heater per thruster, which requires power -- a limited resource for the aging mission. When there is no longer enough power to operate the heaters, the team will switch back to the attitude control thrusters.

The thruster test went so well, the team will likely do a similar test on the TCM thrusters for Voyager 2, the twin spacecraft of Voyager 1. The attitude control thrusters currently used for Voyager 2 are not yet as degraded as Voyager 1's, however.
 

sci-fi-dude

1963, 1899 called they want every thing back....
Set an alert: Do not miss The Farthest on PBS

reaches-interstellar-space-800x450.jpg

Enlarge / An icon of exploration. (credit: NASA/JPL)


I've made no secret that the Voyager probes' journey through the outer Solar System was a major influence on my childhood. So I was shocked to find out that I had missed the airing of what may be the definitive story of their mission. I was fortunate enough to correct my mistake thanks to NYU's science journalism program. For anyone else at all interested in science, NASA, space, or the human side of science, this review serves as a warning: the story will be shown one more time on November 15. Do not miss it.

The story is a documentary called The Farthest, a name that focuses on Voyager 1's current fate as the only human-made object to have left the Solar System. But the movie follows both Voyagers from when they were just an idea struggling to get funding, through potentially mission-ending issues, and on to their status as the definitive exploration mission of the last century. And The Farthest does all that primarily through the words of the scientists who ran the mission and analyzed the data in real time as it came in.

The scientists are quirky, expressive, passionate, and fundamentally human, things that are lacking from most portrayals in popular culture. The film helps you come away with the sense that, even though nobody has seen or touched this hardware in decades, the Voyagers are fundamentally a story of human endeavor.

(Read full story at Ars Technica)
Will do Robby! Voyager interest me, I hope it bumps into something out there.
 
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