Human ingenuity and curiosity has leaded our civilization to prosper in many different studies and exploration. Space is one of the many wondrous mysteries we have decided to explore.
With the Space Age kicking off in the late 1950’s with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union, the world was not aware on how far our technologies and knowledge of our planet and the universe would expand because of this.
Long after the first man landed on the moon, the United States was intrigued with the study of the outer planets that roam deep in our solar system. It seemed that these little dots that we only saw from telescopes would finally be revealed as the gigantic worlds that they are known to be today.
This prompted scientists to construct one of the most wondrous engineering marvels that we know today as Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. These extraordinary machines would be one of the first satellites to encounter Jupiter and the first to encounter Uranus in close range. Not only would Voyager send beautiful images of our planet Earth as a tiny dot from deep space, but it also was able to discover 10 moons in the Uranus system. Till this date, and maybe for generations to come, Voyager 1 & 2 would be one of the very few man made objects to head towards other solar systems in our galaxy.
With Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 there would be an encoded message on a gold plated audio-visual disk. This disk consists of photos of our planet Earth and its inhabitants of all different lifeforms. The makeup of the hydrogen atom and the sounds of Earth would be included in this time capsule. These sounds consist of greetings in 55 different languages, including from people such as the president of the United States of America and the secretary general of the United Nations at the time. Even a baby’s cry would be included in this Golden Record.
The Voyager missions are not the first satellites to include such records of earth, but Pioneer missions, Pioneer 10 and 11 would also have a Golden Record as well. Of the many satellites launched by NASA, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are still very much alive and sending back messages to earth. This has very much exceeded its original mission mandate of November 20, 1980. Both satellites can still be powered by the energy they conserve. They are able to do so by shutting down unnecessary instruments and idling itself through space until they receive a command from Earth, billions of miles away and the distance continues to grow every year by 325 million miles with the target to escape our solar system.
As of July 7, 2014, NASA has confirmed by new data that Voyager 1 is currently travelling in interstellar space. Interstellar space is the vast area of matter that exists in-between solar systems in a galaxy. Basically our man-made satellite has escaped the influence of our star and is heading toward other stars. Voyager 2 is not very far behind, and will soon escape our solar system within the next couple of years.
At its current pace, Voyager 1 and Voyage 2 will no longer be able to generate enough power to power it and send back messages to Earth by the year 2025. At that point Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 will be pretty much undetectable my humans and maybe even extraterrestrial life because it will stop emitting electromagnetic radiation. Even when the satellite dies from lack of power, it will very much be alive. It will still be travelling millions of miles a year until it encounters something. It will act as a time capsule of human civilization waiting to be discovered travelling in unchartered territory possibly forever.