PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, September 13, 2013

Out Of This World! Voyager Is First Man-Made Object To Leave Solar System

An artist's rendering NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft exploring a new region in our solar system called the "magnetic highway." (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An artist’s rendering NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft exploring a new region in our solar system called the “magnetic highway.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977 and currently located about 11 billion miles from Earth, has become the first man-made item to do what sounds like science fiction: it left the solar system.

Though it’s taken a little more than a year to confirm, the unmanned NASA spacecraft traveled through a interstellar space full of charged particles from the galaxy, and crossed into a cooler, denser plasma on August 25, 2012.

The proof? It experienced a sudden drop in solar radiation and spike in cosmic particles.

Ed Stone was the Voyager’s chief project scientist, and he puts Voyager’s journey and its crossing of this threshold, into perspective.

Voyager’s Golden Record

The Golden Record that includes a collection of sights and sounds from Earth. It was carried into space by the Voyager spacecraft. (NASA)

The Golden Record that includes a collection of sights and sounds from Earth. It was carried into space by the Voyager spacecraft. (NASA)

Voyager 1 and its sister craft Voyager 2 both carried what NASA called The Golden Record, a collection of Earth’s sounds and sights for any “spacefarers” who might encounter the Voyager crafts on their journeys into space.

The contents included selections from the great masterworks of Western classical music — such as Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring — the sound of thunder, volcanoes erupting, the sound of a mother and baby, the sound of a heartbeat, the sound of laughter, greetings in 55 different languages and music from different cultures — including Peruvian panpipes, Australian Aborigine songs and a Navajo night chant.

  • What sounds and images would you have included on the Voyager? Tell us in the comments.

Guest

  • Ed Stone, chief project scientist on the Voyager spacecraft.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

June 6 Comment

Introducing A New Here & Now Website

Coming June 9, 2016, Here & Now listeners and visitors will experience our stories and journalism online in a whole new way.

June 3 Comment

Teenagers Create Impromptu Exhibit At San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

As the pair toured the museum, they wondered if they could do better. So 16-year-old Kevin Nguyen decided to get creative.

June 3 3 Comments

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Author Explores Conformity, Mental Health In New Teen Novel

Matthew Quick published his fourth young adult book, "Every Exquisite Thing," this week.

June 2 13 Comments

Do Meal Kits Provide Great Taste Along With Convenience?

Resident chef Kathy Gunst tested a multitude of meal kits, and gives co-host Jeremy Hobson the inside scoop.