You may have read this morning that the first man-made object has passed into interstellar space in the form of the Voyager I probe, but what you might not have known is that Aussie scientists helped get it over the line. Here's how.
NASA scientists confirmed this morning that the unmanned probe Voyager I had passed into the space between solar systems known as interstellar space.
The CSIRO revealed today that the achievement came with the help of some Australian scientists working out of the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex.
Vanessa Hill over at the CSIRO Blog writes about how Aussie scientists helped guide Voyager I on its way out:
The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC), managed and operated by CSIRO, have been vital for communications with both Voyager 1 and 2 since they were launched in 1977. Our antennas are some of the few in the world that can send commands to distant inter-planetary probes. Traveling at the speed of light, a signal scientists send to Voyager 1 takes about 17 hours to travel from Earth – a distance of 19 billion kilometres – and then it takes another 17 hours for us to hear back. By the time the emitted signals get to Earth, they are a fraction of a billion-billionth of a watt.
In recent years the technology has changed for transmitter and receiver systems, and the antenna has been upgraded several times to make it easier to pick up very dim and remote signals. We expect to be supporting Voyager 1 through to the mid-2020s.
Go check out the full post for more on the Voyager's journey. [CSIRO]