Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Voyager Probe 2 May Be Close to Interstellar Space: NASA

In May 2012, Voyager 1 experienced an increase in the rate of cosmic rays similar to what Voyager 2 is now detecting.

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NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Nasa's Opportunity rover might have 'died' on Mars. Flickr

NASA’s Voyager 2 probe that was launched in 1977 has detected an increase in cosmic rays that originate outside our solar system, indicating that it is near the interstellar space.

Once Voyager 2 exits the outermost layer of the heliosphere — the vast bubble around the Sun and the planets dominated by solar material and magnetic fields — it will become the second human-made object, after Voyager 1, to enter interstellar space, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

Voyager 2 is little less than 17.7 billion km away from Earth — or more than 118 times the distance from Earth to the Sun.

It is the only spacecraft to visit all four giant outer planet — Jupiter (1979), Saturn (1981), Uranus (198 ) and Neptune (1989).

NASA
Interstellar Space. IANS

Voyager scientists have been watching for the spacecraft to reach the outer boundary of the heliosphere, known as the heliopause.

“We’re seeing a change in the environment around Voyager 2, there’s no doubt about that,” said Voyager Project Scientist Ed Stone from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Since late August, the “Cosmic Ray Subsystem” instrument on Voyager 2 has measured about a five percent increase in the rate of cosmic rays hitting the spacecraft compared to early August.

The probe’s Low-Energy Charged Particle instrument has detected a similar increase in higher-energy cosmic rays.

TESS, rover, NASA
An artist’s concept provided by NASA shows the Keplar Spacecraft moving through space. VOA

“We’re going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still don’t know when we’ll reach the heliopause. We’re not there yet — that’s one thing I can say with confidence,” Stone added.

Three other spacecraft are on interstellar trajectories. New Horizons is closing in on a Kuiper Belt Object more about a billion miles beyond Pluto on January 1, 2019.

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 probes are no longer functioning, but will eventually travel into interstellar space.

Also Read: SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite

In May 2012, Voyager 1 experienced an increase in the rate of cosmic rays similar to what Voyager 2 is now detecting.

“That was about three months before Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space,” said NASA. (IANS)

  • janjamm

    Wow, after wow!

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Anticipated Problems That May Effect NASA’s Mars Mission

According to results from the first eight analog space crews, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the astronauts are able to successfully complete tasks between 20 and 60 per cent of the time.

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NASA has formalised plans to send a manned mission to Mars, a journey that could involve 250 million miles of travel on a small spacecraft.  Pixabay

Researchers are developing a predictive model to help NASA anticipate conflicts and communication breakdowns among crew members and tick off problems that may make or break the Mission to Mars.

NASA has formalised plans to send a manned mission to Mars, a journey that could involve 250 million miles of travel on a small spacecraft.

To understand the psychological demands of this Mars journey, Northwestern University has charted a multi-phase study conducted in two analog environments — HERA in the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the SIRIUS Mission in the NEK analog located in the Institute for Bio-Medical Problems (IBMP) in Russia.

The varsity will study the behaviour of analog astronaut crews on mock missions, complete with isolation, sleep deprivation, specially designed tasks and mission control, which mimics real space travel with delayed communication.

Mars
NASA has formalised plans to send a manned mission to Mars, a journey that could involve 250 million miles of travel on a small spacecraft. 
Pixabay

“Astronauts are super humans. They are people who are incredibly physically fit and extremely smart,” said Leslie DeChurch, Professor at Northwestern.

“We’re taking an already state-of-the-art crew selection system and making it even better by finding the values, traits and other characteristics that will allow NASA to compose crews that will get along,” DeChurch added.

HERA’s capsule simulator houses astronauts for up to 45 days — a mock mission control outside the capsule — that augments the realism with sound effects, vibrations and communication delays.

space
According to results from the first eight analog space crews, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the astronauts are able to successfully complete tasks between 20 and 60 per cent of the time. Pixabay

Those on the inside undergo sleep deprivation and try to perform tasks. The researchers collect moment-to-moment metrics about individual performance, moods, psychosocial adaptation and more.

According to results from the first eight analog space crews, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the astronauts are able to successfully complete tasks between 20 and 60 per cent of the time.

Also Read: Iran Doubts Europe’s Efforts To Keep Nuclear Deal Alive

The next phase of the research, which began on February 15, involves using the model to predict breakdowns and problems a new HERA crew will experience and making changes to “who works with whom, on what, and when”.

The experiment on the SIRIUS analog in Moscow, will begin on March 15, where four Russians and two Americans, will undertake a 120-day fictional mission around the moon, including a moon landing operation. (IANS)