Voyager 2 Leaves Solar System

Posted on November 15, 2018 by


Mankind’s second object to enter interstellar space finally did so after forty-one years. Voyager 2, designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, launched 20 August 1977. Its mission was to observe the Jovian planets. Voyager 2’s twin, Voyager 1, launched 16 days later and became the first man-made object to enter interstellar space. Aboard the probes, there is a time capsule containing information about us as a species for aliens or future humans to find. The time capsule is called the Golden Record because it is an actual phonograph record.

The contents of the Golden Record are of information about the male and female anatomy, a photograph demonstrating how humans eat, drink, and lick, a photograph of a woman in a supermarket, as well as audio recordings of wildlife, music, and children saying, “Hello from the Children of planet Earth.” Furthermore, to show that humans are an advanced civilization, a model of a hydrogen atom was etched on.

How do we know that Voyager 2 is leaving the solar system? It turns out that outer space is a very irradiated place. Astronomers are monitoring the amount of cosmic radiation hitting the probe. They have found that the radiation levels are similar to Voyager 1 when it was on its way out of the solar system.

People wonder what Voyager 2 will find in interstellar space. “I think it’s gonna find a black hole, fall into the event horizon, and we’ll never hear from it again,” sophomore Andrew Leoffler said.

Unfortunately, Voyager 2’s on-board nuclear reactor will run out of power in ten years. This does open up another topic. What will find Voyager 2? Could it be aliens? Perhaps future humans? The probe finding future humans is not too out of the question. In 296,000 years, Voyager 2 will arrive at the Sirius solar system. It is possible for human life to be there by the time the probe arrives.

In 150,000 years, it is estimated that human technology will be advanced to the point where interstellar travel is incredibly fast. Humans can launch from Earth and land in Sirius in about three months. At that speed, they can pass Voyager 2 and still have another 150,000 years to build up a civilization by the time Voyager 2 arrives.

With this concept in mind, astronomers are debating when it will be ethical to send humans to colonize other solar systems. Starships meant to house multiple generations of people could be overlapped.

Posted in: Aaron Poper