As of April 13, 2012, Voyager 2 was 9.127 billion miles from Earth, beyond the orbit of Pluto. Voyager 2 is leaving the solar system at 36,000 miles per hour, or 1 light year per 18,600 years. So reports the MIT Space Plasma Group.
MIT will be among the institutions celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Voyager mission this week. The ship’s Plasma Science Experiment (PSE) is the work of the MIT group. Thirty-five years ago they put two instruments on Voyager 12 –“Plasma” or “Faraday” Cups. They’ve been collecting data on solar wind speed, density, temperature, and pressure ever since. According to the MIT Museum, the cups have sent data back every 160 seconds of its “Grand Tour” of the planets and beyond. They now post the data on the MIT web site; last year, the team published 8 papers
The site includes an animation of the spherical bubble created by solar wind called the heliosphere, that continually expands over the lifetime of the solar system. The MIT website also describes 1970s era time capsule that went into the ships — a phonograph record with music and images.”selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.”
The information on the record includes, mathematical definitions, solar system parameters, sun, solar spectrum, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Earth, chemical definitions, DNA structure, cells and cell division, and lots about reproduction, including photos of “human sex organs” as well as a “demonstration of licking and eating and drinking.” Music includes Bach, Beethoven, Chuck Berry doing “Johnny B. Goode”). Peruvian Pan Pipes and a Pygmy girls initiation song.
Noting that the Voyager spacecraft will be the third and fourth human artifacts to escape entirely from the solar system, the site quotes Carl Sagan: “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet”
Here’s the full list VOYAGER RECORD PHOTOGRAPH INDEX
Calibration circle, solar location map, mathematical definitions, physical unit definitions, solar system parameters, sun, solar spectrum, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Earth, Egypt (with the Red Sea, the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile), chemical definitions, DNA structure, DNA structure magnified, cells and cell division, anatomy (eight), human sex organs, diagram of conception, conception, fertilized ovum, fetus diagram, fetus, diagram of male and female, nursing mother, father and daughter (Malasia), group of children, diagram of family ages, family portrait. diagram of continental drift, structure of Earth, Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef of Australia), seashore, Snake River and Grand Tetons, sand dunes, Monument Valley, forest scene with mushrooms, leaf, fallen leaves, Sequoia, snowflake, tree with daffodils, flying insect with flowers, diagram of vertebrate evolution, seashell (Xancidae), dolphins, school of fish, tree toad, crocodile, eagle, waterhold, Jane Goodall and chimps, sketch of Bushmen, Bushmen hunters, man from Guatamala, dancer from Bali, Andean girls, Thailand craftsman, elephant, old man with beard and glasses (Turkey), old man with dog and mowers, mountain climber, Cathy Rigby, sprinters, schoolroom, children with globe, cotton harvest, grape picker, supermarket, underwater scene with diver and fish, fishing boat with nets, cooking fish, Chinese dinner party, demonstration of licking and eating and drinking, Great Wall of China, house construction (African), construction scene (Amish country), house (Africa), house (New England), modern house (Cloudcroft, New Mexico), house interior with artist and fire, Taj Mahal, English city (Oxford), Boston, UN Building (day), UN Building (night), Sydney Opera House, artisan with drill, factory interior, museum, x-ray of hand, woman with microscope, street scene in Asia (Pakistan), rush hour traffic (India) modern highway (Ithaca), Golden Gate Bridge, train, airplane in flight, airport (Toronto), Antarctic expedition, radio telescope (Westerbork, Netherlands), radio telescope (Arecibo), page of book (Newton, System of the World), astronaut in space, Titan Centaur launch, sunset with birds, string quartet (Quartetto Italiano), violin with music score (Cavatina).
MUSIC ON VOYAGER RECORD
Bach: Brandenberg Concerto Number Two (First Movement), “Kinds of Flowers” (Javanese Court Gamelan), Senegalese percussion, Pygmy girls initiation song, Australian Horn and Totem song, “El Cascabel” (Lorenzo Barcelata), “Johnny B. Goode” (Chuck Berry), New Guinea Men’s House, “Depicting the Cranes in Their Nest”, Bach: Partita Number Three for Violin (Gavotte et Rondeaus), Mozart: Magic Flute (Queen of the Night, Aria Number l4) Chakrulo, Peruvian Pan Pipes, Melancholy Blues, Azerbaijan Two Flutes, Stravinsky: Rite of Spring (Conclusion), Bach: Prelude and Fugue Number One in C Major from the Well Tempered Clavier (Book Two), Beethoven: Fifth Symphony (First Movement), Bulgarian Shepherdess Song: “Izlel Delyo Hajdutin”, Navajo Indian Night Chant, The Fairie Round from Pavans (Galliards, Almains), Melanesian Pan Pipes, Peruvian Woman’s Wedding Song, “Flowing Streams” (Chinese Ch’in music), “Jaat Kahan Ho” (Indian Raga), “Dark Was the Night”, Beethoven: String Quartet Number 13 (“Cavatina”).
|The Voyager plasma science team is holding a reunion at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research 70 Vassar Street, on September 7 celebrating the 35th anniversary of the launch of the Voyager spacecraft. Room 2522:00-3:00 Panel Discussion: Engineering and Operations 1977-20123:30-4:30 Panel Discussion: Science from 1977 to 2012|