09-13-13, 10:31 PM #21
09-13-13, 11:16 PM #22
My comment was aimed at the fact that while Voyager 1 might have left the yard of the Solar System, it is still very much still in the local neighborhood, and that it is going to be a long long time before it is far enough away that its detection would be the first evidence of our existence.
09-14-13, 11:12 AM #23
When Points are PointlessOriginally Posted by GeoffP
(1) Does it make money?
(2) Does it offer a pretense of moral justification for killing anyone?
Think about how broadly we might define the idea of "doing it just because".
Just to know, you know? Just to know a little bit about where in the Universe we live? True, it doesn't make money in and of itself. True, it doesn't hand a president a reason to lead the country to war. But do those lacks really make a venture pointless?
Voyager is the most successful human exploratory effort not confined to this planet. And just as we consider the Colombian encounter with Americans a pivotal moment in the evolution of the Western civilization—i.e., the extension of "human" exploratory capacity to this sort of intercontinental program—or the first astronauts in space marked an exploratory bondary and humans were no longer earthbound?
Reaching the interstellar medium alters the human view of itself. On August 25, 2012, the species became one of interstellar explorers. And this week we all found out that it really did happen. Some of us have been waiting for this announcement; those to whom the relationship between humanity and its physical environment is most assuredly not a pointless question have been aware that this announcement was coming, and looked forward to it with abstract curiosity. There are many, scientist and lay alike, who don't find the processes of discovery or the rewards of knowledge pointless.
Woeful be the scientist whose only purpose of inquiry demands some sort of point that can be sold for money or political influence.
The discovery is part of the point. And the Voyager twins did remarkable work on their way out; their continued service today is one of NASA's greatest testaments. Indeed, these faithful probes, who will serve until their deaths, are the agency's most successful ventures ever. Without them, we would be that many years behind in our current understanding of the solar system. They did their jobs, and now they are finding new ways to help us. What we have learned about space, the solar system, and even the simple notion of chucking robots at the stars, has more than justified their financial costs.
And the transition to interstellar explorers? The transformation of the human paradigm?
Not pointless, unless the only valid points are those recorded in a ledger or battle damage assessment.
09-14-13, 11:36 AM #24
Without getting into money or body counts, what information have they brought back that we can use to help the species? Can such knowledge be exploited even for peaceful, humanitarian aims having nothing to do with money or politics? We are taking pictures of places we can never reach. That we hope to reach them is a good thing, and FTL travel a worthy objective, but by the time we have figured out how to really reach beyond our solar system we will already be able to reach farther than the probes themselves. If we never can, then the probes are doubly worthless.
09-14-13, 03:25 PM #25
Out of friendly curiousity, do you have any use for the search for knowledge for its own sake as part of the innate human condition of 'sentience' and 'ego' and 'evolutionary imperatives' that makes both insatiable curiosity, playful exploration and expanding consciousness so useful directly and indirectly to survival and successful progression from animal/subsistence levels of animalistic existence?
A timely reminder for anyone who cares to take note of it: Most revolutionary discoveries/ideas are made while looking/thinking for/of "something else", and sometimes doing so for its own sake and value as 'distraction' and employment of intellectual and physical resources to keep them 'ready for action' if/when next needed in an emergency escape/problem-solving situation. Also, knowing helps minimize superstition/fear born of ignorance of and diminished awareness of the 'greater picture' beyond the next meal, next mate, next hill, next hapless catastrophe etc. It may also lead to common understandings of the human perspective/condition which we all are in together, hence increase empathy irrespective of language etc differences. And on top of that, it may reduce social and individual stress levels when acting proactively in knowledge rather than reactively in hard-learned otherwise predictable events which could have been avoided/ameleorated had previously 'undirected knowledge' come in handy at some future date.
Serendipity and pure research for its own sake has contributed as much 'unexpected benefits' to the human progress as has directed and applied research for mercenary/immediate motives.
Just thought I'd put my two cents observation/curiosity at your service, GeoffP, and for your further consideration as to what it means to be human and not just a political/mercenary animal tied to immediate animal level imperatives only rather than recognizing and satisfying both the immediate imperatives as well as the longterm serendipitous/pure exploration curiosity driven social and individual higher-level intellect imperatives.
Good luck and good thinking, GeoffP, everyone!
09-14-13, 04:08 PM #26
Please correct me [gently ] if I'm wrong, but are you saying the definition of the solar system is defined by the gravitational influence of the Sun?
If that really determines the solar system, then where does the Sun's total gravitational effects end?
Gravity as we know, falls off as the inverse square of the distance between two objects.....
Although gravity never reaches zero, it gets close.
We/NASA needs to draw a line somewhere, and the methodology they use, [effects of solar wind and radiation as against the effects of the interstellar medium] seem appropriate for the current definition of the solar system and inter-stellar space.
09-14-13, 06:42 PM #27
paddoboy, good post.
My personal view is that we actually have no concrete evidence of the fundamentals of the interstellar medium - only weak hypotheses - until we get to physically...test?...experience?...possibly be there?...?!?!
Weak...even any explanation I could attempt would only be weak or feeble and decrepit like myself.
From my admittedly average education and learning, I must admit that as a civilization, we honestly really have yet to know all that much about our own local neighborhood, in a universal sense.
Personally, NASA has their beliefs, but I believe the Solar System's effects must reach at least as far as the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud for at least two reasons :
1.) - The Oort Cloud would appear (weak/feeble word also!) to be the furthest remaining remnants of the birth of Sol (our sun). The debris that was not close enough in to be caught in the disk of matter that eventually formed the planets currently occupying or composing our Solar System - but not far enough away or traveling at a fast enough velocity to completely escape the furthest limits of the suns gravity.
2.) - It is thought by some that the Oort Cloud may also be the source of some Comets. The Oort Cloud could be likened to the Asteroid Belt beyond the orbit of Mars, but only much more distant. Some scientist believe that sometimes a loose "crumb" from the Oort Cloud gets enough of a "tug" by the sun, to begin its long trajectory towards the source of that "tug", to become a Comet.
paddoboy, if indeed the source of even a few Comets is the Oort Cloud, then I would have to, at the very least, quite heavily suspect that the Oort Cloud was within the effective gravitational confines of the greater(?) Solar System, or as you put it, still inside(?) of "where...the Sun's total gravitational effects end".
There again, we only have theories of Planetary Formation and Star System Formation based solely upon our admittedly limited understanding of "The Fundamental Laws of The Universe". In other words what we seem to "see" through telescopes.
paddoboy, hope my limited knowledge, communicated by my juvenile writing skills was able to get the "gist" of my answer across, gently.
09-14-13, 07:16 PM #28
Granted, I think it is near fact that some comets do originate from the Oort cloud, but then again some may originate even further afield, to be caught by the overall gravitational effects of the inner solar system.
To be truthful, when I read about Voyager approaching the boundaries of the solar system 12 months ago, I did wonder about the Oort cloud.
Your reasoning as to why the Oort cloud is a part of the solar system makes sense on face value.
But as we know we cannot really define the boundaries of the edge of the gravitational effects of the Sun or any large body for that matter.
Also most stellar systems consist of a number of stars in reasonably close proximity....Are we sure the Centauri system, Barnard's star, Sirius etc, are not part of a gravitationally bound system along with the Sun?
Just a thought......
For this reason, I would think is why NASA and the science community in general, define the edge of the solar system, the Heliosphere, where the effects of the solar wind/radiation and planetary magnetic field, meet that which we would call inter-stellar space.
With your comment on stellar and planetary formation, I think we have enough observational evidence to conclude we are correct on that matter....The Eagle nebula photo immediatley comes to mind.
Finally, yes your thoughts were received gently, and no bruises, cuts or scratches were suffered to my person.
09-14-13, 09:43 PM #29
paddoboy, yeah, me and Nasa do not see eye to eye on many things.
At any rate, pictures are just pictures and seeing is just seeing.
Think about it though - men and women both can convince themselves by pictures or movies of other men or women - "in a heartbeat...break me off a piece of that..I'd hit it/I'd let him hit it...ring his/her bells" - but when they actually get to meet and get to know the one they were SURE ABOUT, you know...a lot of the time.
paddoboy, yeah...you can learn a lot from pictures or seeing...but...?
09-14-13, 10:44 PM #30
I thank F@#$ for NASA and the other world space agencies, and know quite confidently, they do far more good for humanity, and make far more correct decisions then incorrect, then if they didn't exist.
It's a real pity that those two horrid variables of politics and economics have held and are holding human kind back from going further into space then we currently already have.
I dips me lid to all of them.
09-14-13, 11:37 PM #31
09-15-13, 07:49 PM #32
The discovery of Voyager 1 by an intelligent alien species will signal the extinction of the human race...the data plates on the probe will provide them with the info about us. by determining voyagers trajectory throught space...they will come!
09-15-13, 08:14 PM #33
09-15-13, 08:45 PM #34
09-15-13, 10:49 PM #35
09-18-13, 01:12 PM #36
they might reside 1000s of light years away or even in another galaxy.
Why would they come to earth? lets say hypothetically..they visitied earth thousands if not millions of years ago..found life just evolving so catalogued this planet in their universal database and decided to leave...only to leave behind some sort of beacon or probe as a listening outpost outside the heliosphere or oort cloud. Say this outpost had the capability to relay a sub space signal of some sort that would reach this alien civlization in real time (taking into account their tech is advanced) , this signal would then verify that an artifical object had been ejected from the solar system thus indicating a evolved species capable of accessing the space outside its star system.
now you might say why even bother with earth it's got nothing to benefit such an advanced alien race!
sure earth has got mineral resources i.e metals liquid water etc. there is also a billion+ human workforce that could be enslaved by these aliens to do their bidding!
or...perhaps join the exclusive galactic club ( star trek-federation space)
Curiosity is a trait in most intelligent species....
09-18-13, 02:51 PM #37
09-18-13, 03:31 PM #38
Mod Hat — Intervention
Mod Hat — Intervention
Originally Posted by YourEyes
(1) Your latest retort doesn't even make sense.
(2) This all starts with your invocation of Putin.
(3) What the hell does Putin have to do with this?
(4) The problem, of course, being that even that answer is off topic.
(5) Thus, the best thing for you to do is drop it, now, while you still can.
Stop trolling; stop dragging this thread off topic with whatever chest-beating, heart-throbbing, nationalistic Putin-crush you've got going on, here. The Voyager probes have nothing at all to do with Vladimir Putin. So drop the gaga for the Puti-Poot.
09-18-13, 03:35 PM #39
Anyway crazy political kooks aside, we have been talking about voyagers transistion into interstellar space of years now, with only now the evidence seems incontrovertible. My problem is how arbitrary we declare the dividing line as interstellar space as the place were solar wind gives way to interstellar gas. Why not say it where the oort cloud ends and bodies could no longer orbit the sun, then voyager would still have a very VERY long ways to go.
09-18-13, 03:46 PM #40
Or, Perhaps, is the Strand a Fixed Boundary?Originally Posted by ElectricFetus
Everything is fundamentally connected to everything else in the Universe. To use Oort Cloud satellites leaves the definitioin subject to the mass of a given orbital body, as well as, in consideration of other solar systems, the mass of the star.
The changing nature of the medium the vessel travels through is significant, but deferring to your point for the sake of consideration, what is that significance?
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