Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Impressive: Outrunning the solar wind

Voyager 1 is nearest to the edge of the "heliosphere," where the million mph flow of charged particles from the sun — the solar wind — meets interstellar space.

33 years on Voyager I has reached 11 billion miles from home, outrun the solar wind and has only had one equipment failure. But not one of the few moving parts.
It's still working, more than 5 million "steps" later. "I bet that motor is probably the longest, continuously operating device in space, ever.

They have working memories a million times smaller than your home computer. They record their scientific data on 8-track tape machines. And they communicate with their aging human inventors back home with a 23-watt whisper.

Impressive engineering!

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