at least we didn’t fit naugahyde upholstery to the thing.

So Voyager 1 is the first man-made object to officially leave the solar system and travel into interstellar space.

Anyone else bothered by the fact that we sent a thing into space that contains a map to its origin planet and an open invitation?

“Hi, we’re a barely space-faring civilization that you could probably conquer and subjugate with your equivalent of a Boy Scout troop! Here’s a map to our home planet. Stop by anytime!”

Of course, the biggest issue is that we sent out Voyager 1 with an LP on board. We are intergalactic hipster scum.

“These are humpback whale sounds. You’ve probably never heard of them.” <derisive snort by Kurt Waldheim>

6 responses

  1. On the bright side, by the time the probe reaches…anyone, really, we should be a bit beyond the “barely space-faring” stage. If someone picks it up earlier than that then they already have our number.

    • To expand on this further…

      The probe is currently traveling at about 11 miles per second. At that speed and on its current trajectory, the first extra-solar star system it will approach will be Gleise 445 in roughly 40,000 years, at a distance of 1.6 light years (which means it won’t really get all that close). By that time it will have traveled a bit over 2.27 light years.

      On the other hand, we have been broadcasting high-power radio waves for something like 60 or so years now. Given that radio waves propagate at the speed of light, that means that anything within 60 light years of us has a fair chance of detecting us.

      Which means for the next several hundred or so millennia, any being close enough to pick up Voyager 1 won’t need a stinkin’ map to home in on us. Worrying about Voyager 1 sending aliens our way is like a fugitive worrying about the cops that are chasing him finding that map to his hideout he dropped a couple dozen yards back, while simultaneously blaring death metal on a boombox set to 11.

  2. Said High powered Radio waves become little more then gibberish by the time they reach another solar system due to interstellar interference. And have they Officially Officially stated Voyager has left the solar system? Because I think this is the third or fourth time they’ve stated it has, and I think its still under scientific discussion. (apparently where exactly the solar system ends, and interstellar space begins is something of a hot topic in the Astrogation community.)

    • 1. Agreed on the radio signals. Inverse Square Law applies, and “signal” rapidly drops below “noise”. Also, the bandwidths most of our powerful broadcasts have gone out on are really, really, crappy for interstellar transmission. (Also, remember, when you’re calculating received energy of an omnidirectional signal, you have to take the emmission topology into account — 6 MW sounds like a lot. . . but not when it’s sent in a near spherical pattern.)

      2. The are defining the system boundary as the heliopause, IIRC.

  3. Well, the Oort Cloud goes out close to a light-year (or so they think) and it orbits the Sun, so arguably, it hasn’t left the Solar System. But as far as the solar wind goes, it’s kind of out of the pool of light thrown by the porch lamp.

Comments are closed.