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On July 28, levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles originating from outside our solar system increased by 5 percent

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft managed to catch the fastest rate of changes on the edge of the solar system. 
The Voyager 1 is a NASA space probe that was launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system. It is now in the heliosheath, which is which is the outermost layer of the heliosphere. This area is very turbulent, and acts as the outer layer of the bubble of charged particles that surrounds the sun. 
The Voyager 1 has been studying this bubble of charged particles, and in doing so, caught the fastest rate of change in two of three signs of changes expected to occur at this particular area. The three signs of changes are the rate in which levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles increase, the rate in which lower-energy particles decrease, and the direction of the magnetic field. 
On July 28, levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles originating from outside our solar system increased by 5 percent. In the last half of that same day, lower-energy particles originating from inside our solar system decreased by half. Three days later, all levels returned to normal. This was the fastest rate of change observed so far. 
As far as the direction of the magnetic field goes, the data needs to be analyzed to determine if this occurred or not. These results should be available next month. 
This is all crucial information as Voyager 1 attempts to cross into interstellar space. NASA expects this to occur, but it does not know when. When this does happen, Voyager 1 will be the first manmade spacecraft to exit the solar system and dive into interstellar space. 
According to NASA scientists, the levels of lower-energy particles will drop to zero before Voyager 1 crosses into interstellar space. 
"These are thrilling times for the Voyager team as we try to understand the quickening pace of changes as Voyager 1 approaches the edge of interstellar space," said Edward Stone. Voyager 1 project scientist from the California Institute of Technology. "We are certainly in a new region at the edge of the solar system where things are changing rapidly. But we are not yet able to say that Voyager 1 has entered interstellar space."


Source: Science Daily

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By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2012 9:23:02 AM , Rating: 5
I just get chills when I think of Voyager. I was born in 1977! To think that way back then we had the foresight and drive to launch something for deep space, which to this day is still giving us valuable information about out Solar System, and hopefully beyond, is amazing to me.

Talk about American exceptionalism and ingenuity. NASA estimates Voyager 1's power source will keep it running until around 2020. I'm amazed all the electronics still work! On something designed with 1970's technology?

My hats off to everyone involved in such a project and who works this very day to keep our little probe going at 636 miles per second to the historic goal of leaving our Solar System. I'm just in awe.

RE: Chills!
By FITCamaro on 8/8/2012 10:30:15 AM , Rating: 4
Good that we did it back then since we sure as hell won't do it again now.

RE: Chills!
By Drahken on 8/8/2012 10:39:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well they have kinda done it again with the Pluto probe. I don't think they plan to ram it into something so it should just keep going and going.

RE: Chills!
By Ringold on 8/8/2012 1:05:57 PM , Rating: 3
Alas, actually ready the power section. The RTG was a spare, and prepping it for the mission was such a regulatory and environmentalist nightmare that it launched short of plutonium, can't operate as designed, and suggests that our ability to launch a similar mission again in the future is highly questionable. Not due to any technical issues, mind you; we're incapable of Voyager-style missions purely from our own political hang-ups.

Until, at least, someone comes up with a better power source then RTG's; PV is useless that far out.

RE: Chills!
By ClownPuncher on 8/8/2012 1:42:34 PM , Rating: 3
The NIMBY group has branched and created the NIMSS group. Not In My Solar System.

RE: Chills!
By guffwd13 on 8/8/2012 1:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wait I'm confused. You do know that the Curiosity rover is also powered by an RTG? We launched that last November, so what politics are getting in the way of using this fuel source?

RE: Chills!
By delphinus100 on 8/8/2012 7:09:55 PM , Rating: 3
First, there is an actual shortage of the kind of plutonium an RTG can use. More could be produced, and politics.

Second, if you remember the Cassini nonsense, see what happens when you tell everyone you want to launch something containing plutonium, no matter how well protected. Yes, Curiosity did slip by quietly, but again, fear-based politics.

RE: Chills!
By Ringold on 8/9/2012 4:20:52 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. The last time I heard about us trying to create any new plutonium was under Bush, and maybe I'm mistaken but it got no where.

Second, doesn't anyone think its interesting that NASA only ramped up the PR machine on Curiosity in the last month? Don't know about everyone else, but it was obvious to me immediately both that it was done intentionally and the reason: the RTG. Launched it quietly so that the eco-terrorists wouldn't notice until it was practically too late, then ramped up the PR for the landing so NASA could show off its prowess to the taxpayer.

Finally, there's quite a few stories at this very site going back many years where econuts themselves have come on here and whined in the comments about OMG'S, WHAT IT BLOWS UP ON LAUNCH!? Then they proceed to ignore how robust RTG's are, how unlikely any substantial contamination is, etc. No, we're definitely holding ourselves back big time in space science with our nuclear aversion.

RE: Chills!
By dgingerich on 8/8/2012 11:14:49 AM , Rating: 4
As NDT said, we just don't have the science and space ambition anymore. Too many people are just content to sit on our butts these days.

If I had the chance to contribute to the scientific community (I had it once, I was acing Physics and Math classes, but my stupid English teachers kept getting in my way) I would work hard and have the ambition to drive it further. I think there are a lot of people out there that would. People who would be in a scientific or engineering career, if their school had let them. There's too much emphasis on writing academic papers with no scientific or educational value, getting things like formatting 100% correct (I had one teacher knock off 40% on a paper because I had forgotten to italicize one word, she said it was no longer a valid reference because of that, took off 5% for the non-italicized word, took off 25% for not having a reference, then too another 10% off for noting a reference in the paper that "was not there", complete BS) instead of actually educating. I'm certain there are many more people than just me completely driven out of a college education just because of power hungry "teachers" who have no business teaching.

I had a 3.3 GPA, even with getting a D in English Comp 1 in my first year. I had a 3.0 after my second year, and failing English Comp 1 twice more with similar teachers. I had no issues getting As in Calc 1-3, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanics 1 & 2, Atomic Nuclear and Condensed Matter 1 & 2, Discrete Math, Even US History, yet I couldn't pass a stinking basic English class? I go back to school 20 years later, only to find the same thing. As in Database Design, Project Management, Basic Computer Security, and a dozen others, with a B in Psychology, only to fail at English Comp 1 and "Principles of Leadership" taught by the same English teacher. I spent 40-50 hours every week, even with working 45 hours a week, doing those stupid papers, only to have that witch mark me down repeatedly for complete BS reasons.

If our English teachers weren't getting in the way all the time, we'd probably have more scientists and engineers, and probably have more "scientific ambition". Heck, we'd probably have faster than light travel conquered by now.

RE: Chills!
By HrilL on 8/8/2012 12:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you should have filed a grade complaint with your department head. I've had to do it before. Had a philosophy professor tell us "You're in college now so you can have your own study habits and take your own notes." Well then at the end of the semester he wanted 100 pages of notes. I had about 40 so he dropped my grade 20% from an A to C. He actually turned out to be the department head so I took it up with the assistant dean and got it raised to a B, though I still think I should have got an A since I got an A on every test and paper.

RE: Chills!
By dgingerich on 8/8/2012 12:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
The English departments, at any of my 5 schools, (University of Northern Colorado in 1991, Metro State College of Denver in 1993, Oklahoma Christian University in 1996, Colorado Technical University in 2009, and finally Colorado State University, Global Campus in 2011, however, I only took one semester at Metro and no English classes, and didn't have issues with Speech class at OCU or CTU, so it was really just the 2 state schools where I had this issue) would never even let me meet to discuss the issue. I guess they just didn't like my written letter requests.

I just decided (as I had back in 1997) that I'm just giving up on college in general. Mensa rated me with a 170 IQ back in 1999, and my career is going well with self study and acing cert exams for various system admin skills (VCP, MCITP-EA&VA, MCSE, Network+, Security+, A+) so college really isn't needed. I make more money than the average college grad my age. It just gnaws at me that I never was able to finish it. I keep getting the feeling I'm supposed to be doing something more significant than just a server admin.

RE: Chills!
By kattanna on 8/8/2012 1:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
didn't have issues with Speech class

My niece had a speech class last semester..100% online

think about that for a second..sad

me personally..english has been a rocky subject. the first time I tried english 101 one of the first projects we did I followed the teachers instructions to the letter, and failed it because she actually wanted it in another format. When i pointed out her instructions her response was.. well.. i meant the other way. LOL I dropped the class because with a more then full time job, the math and chemistry class was more then enough as it was.

the second time I tried it, I was pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes that the teacher had made herself. ended dropping the class because once again work got in the way and I wasnt dropping biology which I had a strong A in. I'll get past it eventually..LOL got more chemistry and astronomy this semester. one thing I have noticed though about the english classes is how astonishingly bad is the grammar of these new kids in college. Me.. i was born when we were landing men on the moon.

I keep getting the feeling I'm supposed to be doing something more significant than just a server admin

if you are helping the porn to flow.. then there is NO higher calling


RE: Chills!
By MrBlastman on 8/8/2012 1:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
When i pointed out her instructions her response was.. well.. i meant the other way.

That's just women being women. They say stuff all the time that is the opposite of what they really mean.

They get all pissed off too when us men don't figure it out. Other times, we actually do the opposite and they get mad because they meant what they really said.

It is a wonder that all men over forty aren't completely bald. That, or carrying around giant cudgels to smash things.

It is perplexing. Machines are typically predictable--they work in a calculated, mechanical way and generate an obvious end result. Humans are nothing more than electro-chemical machines, yet, for some strange reason, the female variant has managed to defy science completely by incorporating a true random-number generator in their brains.

It is inconceivable yet, as I see it, true. Perhaps there is some sort of multi-dimensional quantum rift buried somewhere in their brains that men have yet to find. It is in there--it has to be!

RE: Chills!
By JediJeb on 8/8/2012 2:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe women are the key to quantum computing, where a bit can be on, off or anything in between.

RE: Chills!
By MrBlastman on 8/8/2012 2:27:14 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly! We should behead them instantly and place them all on spindles and begin computing... Oh hell, I don't want to even know what goes on in there.

If we do that, it could be like opening a Lemarchand box...

Eureka! I've figured it out!

Pinhead. Yes, Pinhead, he is the source of all mankinds lusts and woes! It isn't sand trapped in there at times, no, NO!

It is Pinhead, bristles and all, raking his crown across their grant vestibules!

Or is it? Who is up to the challenge? I'm not.

Of course, the Lament Configuration might have already been realized. Was Man ever meant to figure this out to begin with? Is it already too late... I better go hide.

RE: Chills!
By MrBlastman on 8/8/2012 2:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
grant = grand. :-| (Maybe my typo saved us all?)

RE: Chills!
By Spuke on 8/8/2012 7:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
That's just women being women. They say stuff all the time that is the opposite of what they really mean.
Women only act that like that when they're with someone they don't really want to be with OR when we (men) let them act like that. I don't put up with that stuff and I'm no Billy Bad Ass either. If a woman wants me to understand something, she'll have to say it in plain English or I'll just act like a total dumb ass until she does. It's FAR easier to frustrate the living piss out of them until they spit it out in anger than to try and guess what they really want. Sorry, but I just don't play those games.

RE: Chills!
By JediJeb on 8/8/2012 2:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
English Grammar I always did well in, simply because grammar has a structure similar to mathematics or computer programming. Composition and Literature classes, that's a whole different story.

My friend went to the University of Louisville Speed School, there he made it through his Masters of Science in Chemistry in just over four years, where it took me four years for a BS in Chemistry in a state school. That program does not require more than basic scientific writing and grammar courses and none of the other nonsense electives most schools require now to try to make students "more balanced" for society. If anyone is looking for a strictly scientific career or education I would suggest giving them a look.

RE: Chills!
By dgingerich on 8/8/2012 3:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's cool. If I ever have to take another comp class, it will be too soon. Having an option of a school without that sounds great. Thanks for the info.

RE: Chills!
By really on 8/8/2012 7:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to say this after such a wonderful melt but I can see why your English teachers marked you down. Your reply was actually a little difficult to read due to fragmented sentences and awkward punctuation. You make the same mistake many people do and throw comas out all willy nilly. In many cases comas aren't needed and shouldn't be use.

“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it." ~~Sophocles

RE: Chills!
By MrBlastman on 8/8/2012 11:27:11 AM , Rating: 5
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

--Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot.

RE: Chills!
By Apone on 8/8/2012 12:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, I also imagine how long exploration satellites that are launched now could last and what capabilities they could do?....

RE: Chills!
By ATrigo on 8/8/2012 1:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
On something designed with 1970's technology?

Yeah... they don't make'em like they used to :)

RE: Chills!
By JediJeb on 8/8/2012 2:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
I just get chills when I think of Voyager. I was born in 1977! To think that way back then we had the foresight and drive to launch something for deep space, which to this day is still giving us valuable information about out Solar System, and hopefully beyond, is amazing to me. Talk about American exceptionalism and ingenuity. NASA estimates Voyager 1's power source will keep it running until around 2020. I'm amazed all the electronics still work! On something designed with 1970's technology? My hats off to everyone involved in such a project and who works this very day to keep our little probe going at 636 miles per second to the historic goal of leaving our Solar System. I'm just in awe.

I was 10 years old when it launched and I so well remember when the first photos were coming back from both Voyager I and Voyager II. I was buying every magazine I could find with those photos, Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, National Geographic, ect. I only wish that as many children today would be as interested as we were back then with news of discovery and exploration such as this, and that we were doing that much exploration now. I felt like a kid again just watching the JPL coverage of the new Mars rover landing the other night, I just wonder if that was even talked about the next day in most school science classes.

As for the 70's tech lasting so long, it probably isn't such a stretch to see it lasting longer than current systems. There are TV's from the 70's still working today and yet the ones made in the last few years will be lucky to be working so well ten years from now. Can micro circuit boards and components outlast massive capacitors, vacuum tubes and heavy gauge wiring? Maybe faster and more efficient isn't always better when longevity is the goal.

RE: Chills!
By delphinus100 on 8/8/2012 7:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
To think that way back then we had the foresight and drive to launch something for deep space...

Be mindful that it was primarily intended as a Jupiter and Saturn flyby probe. Everything after that was gravy, and it was understood that it would gain enough speed to reach solar escape no matter what, so let's keep measuring the environment for as long as it will let us. But what it does now was always secondary to what it's already done...

RE: Chills!
By Lord 666 on 8/8/2012 9:54:19 PM , Rating: 2

I completely agree with you and that is why it is tough for me to get excited about Curiosity. Voyager and Viking always remind me of the many times to the NASA exhibits in DC.

But 40 years of progress gets planetary mobility with a giant rover and an impressive landing on Mars? And yet we are to believe what happened on the moon in the 60's?

RE: Chills!
By Paj on 8/10/2012 7:41:59 AM , Rating: 2
I just get chills when I think of Voyager.

Me too. One of humanity's most amazing achievements.

The USA deserves to be proud.

A bit behind, aren't we?
By DNAgent on 8/8/2012 9:05:20 AM , Rating: 2
The 5% increase was actually detected back in May, and reported by NASA in mid-June.

RE: A bit behind, aren't we?
By DanNeely on 8/8/2012 10:37:48 AM , Rating: 2
That's different (older) data. Your link refers to "Beginning on May 7, the cosmic ray hits have increased five percent in a week and nine percent in a month."

The science daily article this post was based on is data from the end of July and is of a significantly faster rate of change. "In one day, on July 28, data from Voyager 1's cosmic ray instrument showed the level of high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our solar system jumped by five percent. During the last half of that same day, the level of lower-energy particles originating from inside our solar system dropped by half. However, in three days, the levels had recovered to near their previous levels."

The Tiffany
By lightfoot on 8/8/2012 12:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Voyager I is already a definite article, so the definite article "the" need not proceed it. "The Voyager probe" would be correct given the fact that you are referring to a single, specific, spacecraft among several named Voyager. Simply "the Voyager I" is not correct.

The Tiffany should know this.

Normally this type of thing doesn't bug me, but two of the first paragraphs were started this way and it made the whole piece very difficult to read.

RE: The Tiffany
By Fritzr on 8/8/2012 12:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the first instance of this mistake.

Para 1: "Voyager 1 spacecraft" should be The Voyager 1 spacecraft". 'The' is needed as this is "The spacecraft designated Voyager 1".

For those still wondering
"Voyager 1" is a proper name.
"Voyager 1 spacecraft" is an object.
"Voyager" is the series designation & shorthand for any of the probes in the series. It is treated as a name when used to designate one of the probes.
"Voyager probe" is an object.

Voyager 1
The Voyager 1 spacecraft
The Voyager probe

...I agree errors of this kind can make rough reading. Tiffany please review your use of 'fastest' as well. Those were the grammar errors I kept tripping over.

By cruisin3style on 8/8/2012 1:09:09 PM , Rating: 1


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