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Beyond the expected

SMH does pap-piece on Tidbinbilla, Voyager I and II

By Skidbladnir - 3 September 2007 10

Housed at the Tidbinbilla space tracking station, outside Canberra, the 1970s hardware is now our world’s only means of chatting with two robot pioneers exploring the solar system’s outer limits.
Yet the bank of computers that would look at home in black-and-white episodes of Doctor Who cannot be junked.

However, it seems the SMH has nobody proof-reading, unless Voyager II really did travel back in time to launch two weeks before its older twin.

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
SMH does pap-piece on Tidbinbilla, Voyager I and II
Cameron 11:48 am 05 Sep 07

I’m not either… nowhere near enough brain capacity. Sounds fair enough – I should further clarify that it wasn’t launched after because of the delay. It was always scheduled to launch after II, and if it was delayed twice it was only a matter of days (usually their launch window is that long).

deejay 7:53 pm 04 Sep 07

I am not an astrophysicist, Cameron, but I suspect we might both be right. According to this page (an academic page which is linked from the NASA Voyager page as a history of Voyager) Voyager I – launched 16 days after Voyager II – was delayed twice. It isn’t clear on that page whether it was delayed from prior to Voyager II, but given the narrow timeframe, it seems likely (as per the statement of the Tidinbilla volunteer, who worked there for many years). Equally, your suggestion of a faster trajectory for Voyager I is also correct.

Cameron 10:40 am 04 Sep 07

The launch wasn’t delayed. Again, Voyager II was launched first due to different trajectories. II was launched first on a slower trajectory – I on a faster one. That’s why I encountered Jupiter first, and why it (and not II) is the furthest from Earth at present.

deejay 7:34 am 04 Sep 07

We were out there on the weekend. According to the volunteer, Voyager II did launch before I. I had some technical issues and had to be delayed briefly.

shauno 5:57 am 04 Sep 07

“Unless they are just referring to the computer hardware, which may also be in California. By the way the article is aimed you would think it was the only place in the world where you could pick up the signals”

Its one of 3 Spain Cali and Canberra its just that as they call home so infrequently you can only schedule one to intercept the signal because it has to be on the right side of the planet when the signal arrives

Cameron 7:31 pm 03 Sep 07

Voyager II actually did launch before Voyager I. Different trajectories meant that I reached the outer solar system planets first, hence the numbering.

Swaggie 6:10 pm 03 Sep 07

I was out there yesterday being Father’s day and all, they had a good set up with one chap on hand to explain the technical stuff – might even have been the guy in the photo, it wasn’t Glen Nagle who usually fronts for them but all in all a good day out.

hingo 5:31 pm 03 Sep 07

Sorry about the triple post but it also looks like they may be bullshitting slightly:

Wikipedia: “If Voyager 1 is still functioning when it finally passes the heliopause, scientists will get their first direct measurements of the conditions in the interstellar medium. At this distance, signals from Voyager 1 take more than thirteen hours to reach its control center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a joint project of NASA and Caltech near Pasadena, California.”

SMH – “Housed at the Tidbinbilla space tracking station, outside Canberra, the 1970s hardware is now our world’s only means of chatting with two robot pioneers exploring the solar system’s outer limits.”

Unless they are just referring to the computer hardware, which may also be in California. By the way the article is aimed you would think it was the only place in the world where you could pick up the signals.

hingo 5:27 pm 03 Sep 07

Oops, I meant to say they just reworded the Wiki article, not “word for word”. Just dumbed down a bit…

SMH- “…nuclear-powered Voyagers tipped to keep transmitting until at least 2020”

Wiki – “…powered by three radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which have far outlasted their originally intended lifespan, and are now expected to continue to generate enough power to keep communicating with Earth until at least around the year 2020”

hingo 5:22 pm 03 Sep 07

Looks like they souced most of their information from here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_1

Some of it is almost word for word.

SMH – “…the Voyagers are seeking the point where the wind of particles blowing off the sun is overwhelmed by those streaming in from other stars. Beyond that is interstellar space.”

Wikipedia – “…and has thus entered the heliosheath, the termination shock region between the solar system and interstellar space, a vast area where the Sun’s influence gives way to the other bodies in the galaxy”

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