When human beings walked out of the earth to see the vast universe, they became infinitely interested in this mysterious space. Exploring the starry sky is a long process and requires one step at a time. The first step for mankind to explore the universe is to understand the secrets of the solar system.
The solar system can be divided into inner galaxies and outer galaxies. The inner galaxy mainly refers to the habitable zone, which contains four terrestrial planets, from the inside to the outside they are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Three of the four planets are in the habitable zone, only the earth is a beautiful planet of life, and the others are desolate and harsh planets.
The outer galaxies are the four gaseous planets and the Kuiper belt at the edge of the solar system. For scientists, the most mysterious area of the solar system is the edge of the solar system. Because it is far from the sun and the entire starry sky is relatively dark, it is difficult for our astronomical telescopes to observe the edge. Therefore, we don’t know what secrets are at the edge of the solar system.
Moreover, the edge of the solar system is the extreme position reached by the solar wind, and the interstellar space is outside the solar wind. What happens when the radiation and matter in interstellar space come into contact with the solar wind is something that scientists are eager to understand. This may be an important step for us to understand the universe.
It is difficult for astronomical telescopes to observe more of the edge of the solar system. To understand the secrets there, we need to send detectors to the field. So in 1977, NASA launched two probes into the air within two months. They are the famous Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
After Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 entered space, they proceeded in different ways. Although their goals were to advance outside the solar system, their missions were somewhat different. The mission of Voyager 1 is relatively simple, that is, it has been heading out of the solar system until it exits the solar system, while Voyager 2 has more missions, and it shoulders the mission of exploring various planets all the way.
Because Voyager 2 has more important tasks, although it departed earlier than Voyager 1, the time to break out of the heliosphere was several years later than Voyager 1. Scientists have higher expectations for Voyager 2 and hope that through its detection data along the way, we can learn more about the edge of the solar system.
Voyager 2 departed in 1977, after more than 40 years of voyage, by March 2020, it will be about 18.8 billion kilometers from the earth. During this period, Voyager 2 has lived up to expectations and explored various gaseous planets successively, sending back precious data for the earth. But in March 2020, Voyager 2 suddenly lost contact.
After 8 months of waiting, finally in November 2020, the Voyager 2 signal resumed again, and it sent back two words to the earth: Hello, what happened? According to scientists’ estimates, Voyager 2 will only run out of batteries in 2025 and completely lose contact with the ball. But last year, there was a loss of communication for as long as 8 months. This is unimaginable in many people’s eyes. So what happened?
Before unraveling this mystery, let’s first understand in general how Voyager 2 keeps in touch with the earth. The distance scale in the universe is very large, with light-years as the basic unit, and Voyager 2 is an interstellar probe, which will go all the way out of the solar system. To keep in touch with the detectors deep in the starry sky, you need a powerful antenna network.
NASA has a Deep Space Network (DSN) located in Barstow, California, Madrid, Spain, and Canberra, Australia. Each place has a 70-meter-diameter huge dish antenna-equivalent to a radio with a rotatable dish. Telescopes, and several antennas with a diameter of 34 meters or less.
The deep-space network composed of these antennas can monitor and communicate with solar activity around the clock, send instructions to the probe and receive data. The data communication and reception of Voyager are completed through these three observatories, but the communication of Voyager 2 is quite unique. As we said earlier, the advancement route of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in space is different.
As Voyager 2 has to complete more detection tasks, its flight path is more complicated and requires multiple turns. When flying over the north pole of Triton in 1989, as it was the last celestial body to be visited in the solar system, scientists no longer considered the flight trajectory and adjusted its orbit closer to Triton, causing it to deflect southward relative to the planetary disk. , From then on, I walked in this direction and flew down to the black ground.
This flight path makes it relatively difficult for Voyager 2 to communicate with the earth. The two deep-space stations in the northern hemisphere can no longer communicate with it. Only the 70-meter antenna DSS43 in Australia in the southern hemisphere has a powerful enough transmitter antenna to communicate with it. It sends instructions.
However, starting in March last year, the DSS43 antenna has been in operation for 50 years, and various equipment has become obsolete. The transmitter needs to be upgraded to ensure the needs of other tasks in the future. This time the maintenance and upgrade took 8 months. Voyager 2 lost contact with the earth and had to wave on its own.
By October 30, 2020, DSS43 was equipped with a new transmitter, and the scientists could not wait to issue several commands to Voyager 2. After 34 hours and 48 minutes, Voyager 2 responded to the instructions of the scientists: hello.
Voyager 2’s reply made scientists happy. This shows that within 8 months of losing contact, Voyager 2 is all normal and can continue to serve us. It is ready to accept new instructions at any time, and 43 years of voyage are too difficult for Voyager 2. Moreover, it has now stepped out of the heliosphere and has come into contact with the interstellar world, and the data returned every time is very important to mankind.
Scientists expect to be able to keep in touch with Voyager 2 and make use of its last remaining heat before it is completely lost in 2025. When the Voyager spacecraft completely lost contact with the earth, its mission has not yet been completed, and there is a more important task waiting for them, and that is to find alien civilization.
Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 carry a golden compact disc, which records human information and the coordinates of the earth. When they all leave the solar system and enter interstellar space, if they are lucky enough, they may be captured by alien civilizations.
Alien civilizations can know the existence of human beings through the information recorded on the CD, and through the coordinate information left on it, it is possible that alien civilizations will also come to the solar system and come into contact with humans. It’s just that it’s hard to tell whether the contact between alien civilizations and humans is a good thing or a bad thing for us. What do my friends think about this?