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What is interesting about interstellar space?

What is interesting about interstellar space?

It is difficult to imagine that a man-made space probe would traverse interstellar space. That this space probe yet 47 years of service Suddenly he gives up the ghost, from the technicians on the ground in the distance 24 billion kilometers That it is now reforming and working as it was before is nothing short of incredible.

Voyager 1 Can after months of problems for a few days Collect data again using 4 measuring tools. indeed What exactly There is In interstellar space In reality To explore?

➤ Read more: NASA has found the cause of errors in the Voyager 1 probe

Break the bubble

“However, there is no pure vacuum there,” says space researcher Bruno Besser of the Space Center. Austrian Academy of Sciences. “There are still some particles flying around in there.” Unlike the location “inside” the solar system, there are no ions from the sun (Solar wind), instead of Particles from the rest of the galaxy. There is a kind of radiation bubble around the sun: HeliosphereThe solar system revolves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

Voyager 1 has emerged from this bubble and is now essentially flying in front of the solar system. Its sister probe, Voyager 2, is also in interstellar space, but not far from Earth (only 20 billion kilometers). There's not a lot of substance there. In some cases it is just density 0.1 atom per cubic centimeter. This is very little. There are between 10 and 100 atoms of the same size among the planets in the solar system.

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➤ Read more: Is Oumuamua an alien spacecraft? A new study offers an explanation

Irreplaceable data for plasma physics

Virtually, atomic nuclei are found only in interstellar space Protons, which has gotten rid of its electrons but is still moving in sync with them. This will be as plasma specific. This is very interesting for physicists, because it is Natural state in space “Certain phenomena, certain reactions, only occur when the density of matter is very small,” Besser says. “You can also experience these phenomena Checked only on site“Only Voyager probes make measurements in this environment, so their data are irreplaceable.

Magnetic and radiation fields in local chips

Interstellar space is not the same everywhere. The solar system travels through the so-called Local interstellar cloudalso Local chip Named. This region is about 30 to 40 light-years across, and still has a relatively large number of hydrogen atoms, so it is less dense. The cloud is faint but present magnetic fieldWith which charged particles interact. The reaction leads to a plasma state.

Moreover, it is Cosmic rays Measurable in interstellar space. Small, high-energy particles hit the space probe's sensors with different intensities in certain parts of Voyager 1's flight path. According to Besser, this would allow conclusions to be drawn about processes that occurred long ago in space, for example SupernovaeHuge star explosions.

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There is still a long way to go to reach the Oort Cloud

Interstellar space is defined as a region where the Sun's particles no longer reach it, but where the influence of solar gravity still exists. This is evidenced, among other things, by the orbits of some comets, whose origins are located in Oort cloud You must lie. It must start at a distance of approximately 2,000 to 20,000 times the distance from Earth to the Sun 2,000 to 20,000 astronomical units (AU).

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Voyager 1 is currently at a distance 162.7 African Union. Oort cloud is Mysterious place, about which almost nothing is known so far. There is material there from the early days of the solar system's formation, which has not yet permeated the solar system.

Distances in space in astronomical units (AU). Graphics have been around for a few years now, and Voyager 1 has come a long way now

The probe is running out of juice

Voyager 1 will likely do just that No longer contribute To continue exploring this region of space. The probe is also far from a region where interactions between the solar system and another star system can easily be observed. “This is the big problem in space exploration: The distances are crazy“Voyager 1 takes off quickly,” Besser says 17 kilometers per second (61,500 km/h) through space. The probe will only reach the next star system (Alpha Centauri) at this speed in 75,000 years.

The power supply is not enough for a long time. Voyager 1 is indeed energy efficient. The probe has had one since 1977 Radionuclide battery Because solar cells will be useless due to their distance from the sun. According to NASA, the battery currently produces 220 watts, roughly the same power produced by a photovoltaic panel at a balcony power plant on a sunny day. Scientific instruments consume only a few watts, and an antenna transmitting data to Earth requires 200 watts. Every year the performance decreases About 4 watts.

➤ Read more: NASA begins shutting down Voyager

Human artifacts

So it won't be long before Voyager 1 runs out of power to power its instruments. Better estimates that investigative tools Closing in just a few years Need to become. The investigation will then be sent to deserved retirement.

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You will then go into the depths of space A silent earthly ambassador Advance more. And if it encounters an intelligent life form, there are greetings from humanity on board.

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