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A Glimmer of Hope for Voyager 1, Still Hardly Any for the Future

I found something about a study about the best route for a spacecraft intended to leave the heliosphere while looking for space exploration news, and this reminded me of the serious problems that have been preventing Voyager 1 from returning any usable data for quite some time, and which may well lead to the end of the mission of the most distant spacecraft that remains in operation. Of course, if that will happen, Voyager 2 is still out there, but it’ll need close to a decade to reach the same distance, by which point it’s quite likely that it’ll also be unable to return much, if any, usable data, plus that the trajectory is also different. And, while it’s still making new discoveries about the far reaches of our solar system, New Horizons can’t even be considered from this point of view, seeing as it’ll take some four decades to get as far as Voyager 1 currently is, by which point the chances of it still being in operation are pretty much zero.
But, of course, the bigger problem is that there are no replacements, not even when it comes to the exploration of the outer planets, much less when it comes to going farther. So, while the developments reported earlier this month, after a long period of silence, may offer a glimmer of hope for Voyager 1, the situation is just one more reminder of the stark difference between how far we were looking decades ago and how much we’re currently stuck at staring at our own feet and shuffling about, forgetting that we are, or should be, building the future. Which, of course, applies on every level, and is a process that probably began, at least at the highest levels, not long after the Voyagers were launched. But that’s another topic, I guess…


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