Opinions

The Legacy of the Voyager

      The Voyager 1 and 2 are spacecrafts that were launched back in the 1970s. They have a legacy that has lasted to this day. Voyager 1 and 2 are humanity’s farthest-reaching and longest-in-service space probes. They continue to communicate with NASA everyday while out in space. Voyager 1 is now almost 13 billion miles from Earth and Voyager 2 is almost 11 billion miles from Earth. Voyagers 1 and 2 are commonly referred to as one single spacecraft, because they are twins. Voyager 1 was launched on Sept. 5, 1977. Voyager 2 was sent out prior to accomodate its longer and slower trajectory.

       I believe that we, as human beings, should be more invested in scientific discovery. One reason why I believe this is because science is good; it is a good thing. Science is a valuable tool that can be used to help us better understand our world. Scientific discovery opens our eyes to the many mysteries of the world around us, and the many wonders of our universe. Another reason that I believe that we should be more invested in science is that both Voyager spacecrafts have set numerous records in their unparalleled journeys. None of the NASA scientists who sent out the Voyagers were certain that either would still be working, let alone continuing their journey when they were first launched 40 years ago. A third reason that I believe we should renew our faith in science is because Voyager 1 is the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space, which was a huge accomplishment in the history of space exploration. The mission of both was to study the solar system’s giant, gaseous outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Both Voyagers 1 and 2 had traveled on Titan-Centaur rockets. The different locations of the two Voyagers allows scientists to compare the two regions of space where the heliosphere interacts with the surrounding interstellar medium: using instruments that measure charged particles, magnetic fields, low-frequency radio waves and solar wind plasma. The heliosphere is the bubble-like volume containing our solar system’s planets and solar wind.

      I think that we do need to focus on problems here on Earth, but only to a certain extent. There is a lot that we have discovered about our own planet in recent years, and many other things that we have already known for centuries. For most of human history, we have been spending our time right here on our own planet. The task of going out to explore other planets in space, as well as even having the ability to leave Earth and explore space is a fairly recent development. Since we have spent so much time on Earth, why not focus on exploration of the unknown mysteries of space? We already know very much about our planet, but I am sure that there are still many things about the other planets in our galaxy, and space itself, that we have yet to learn.

        The future of scientific discovery looks like it will be very possible that many more new discoveries will be made. Both Voyagers 1 and 2 have found traces of an ocean beyond Earth on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The Voyager 1 probe is the most distant human-made object ever. NASA has said that Voyager 1 was the first spacecraft to detect lightning on a planet other than Earth. Some of the numerous records that the Voyagers have set during their parallel journeys were discovering the first active volcanoes beyond planet Earth, finding a jumbled-up, icy moon Miranda on Uranus, and icy-cold geysers on Neptune’s moon, Triton. These discoveries made by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 bring our hopes up that the pursuit of understanding our universe is not dead.

       Sources: CNN, NASA.gov

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