In March of this year, 35 years have passed since the Voyager 1 spacecraft has been sent into space, leaving its mission to leave our solar system and explore interstellar space. That was the original premise, but NASA admits that it has no idea if it was successful.
The probe is the furthest, still acting object sent into space by man. The NASA-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory claims that Voyager 1 has gone to completely unknown territories, but the original mission team questioned this claim, saying that Voyager 1 is still within the Solar System. Since that time, the debate has been steadily increasing, and more and more scholars are starting to take part.
This week saw new findings from researchers at the University of Maryland and Boston University suggest that Voyager 1 entered the interstellar space on July 27, 2012. NASA confirms that there are many contradictory theories about the location of the probe, but she admits that she has no idea where she may be at the moment.
The space agency explains that the discrepancies in opinion come from the way scientists define the boundaries of our solar system. They claim that the boundary defines the magnetic field of the Sun and call it a “solar bubble”. The area beyond the magnetic field of our star is what scientists consider to be interstellar space, which has its own magnetic field.
Launched in 1977, the Voyager 1 probe monitors the magnetic field emitted by the Sun. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory counted that the probe passing through the solar bubble to the interstellar space would notice a distinct change in direction. Meanwhile, scientists say that the rotation of the solar system and interstellar space is in the same direction, so the transition may not be noticeable.
The US space agency has just announced a test of fire control in space just weeks before. On board the Cygnus ferry returning to the Earth, the flames of cotton fiberglass were set on fire to see how the fire would behave in microgravity.
In a few years NASA wants to send a manned mission to Mars. The journey will take many months, during which many things may go wrong. The greatest fear of engineers and astronauts is of course a fire on board a spacecraft, so NASA wants to do it right now.
A firefighting experiment, launched within a project called Saffire-I, was announced a few weeks ago. The fire was brought on board Cygnus, who at the end of March provided supplies to the ISS.
The NASA Glenn Research Center, specifically for the purpose of the experiment, has developed an additional module that protected the ship from the spread of flames. A few hours after Cygnus’s disconnection from the ISS, a glass fiber block of 41 x 96 cm was set on fire, which spontaneously burned out after the ship had overcome a distance of several thousand kilometers.
Kepler’s telescope, which has searched the cosmic sphere, has found many promising exoplanets in which conditions can be found for the development of life. Now NASA wants to gather some tools to find promising planets and plans to send a special satellite for this purpose.
The population of our planet is getting bigger, natural resources are closing at a rapid pace and in a while you will have to look for a new home where humanity can continue to grow. NASA using the Kepler telescope has been looking for such a home for several years and found some promising planets. The telescope can, however, explore only a particular segment of the cosmos, and for a broader search one needs something else.
NASA is working on a TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) satellite that will search for life-changing planets. The device observes stars and searches for the shadows of planets orbiting on their background. Then he will calculate the size of the planet and the length of its orbit, so that the scientists will determine whether the object is suitable for habitation.