Interstellar Age

Jim Bell, Penguin/Dutton 2015, Tigard Library 629.43 BEL

After the last planetary encounter (Voyager 2 passed Neptune in 1989), the spacecraft cameras were shut down, though sensors remain active, and may continue to work until 2025 or so, when the RTG power sources decay and cannot provide enough power to keep the electronics warm.

The termination shock was traversed by Voyager 1 in 2004, and Voyager 2 in 2007.

The heliosheath is 80 to 100 AU out.

Voyager 1's plasma density instrument failed at Saturn, but other instruments (probably) detected the edge of the heliopause on August 25, 2012. Ed Stone is the project leader for keeping this $5M/year program alive. Current distance is about 133 AU (2015 September).

Voyager 2 is leaving the sun at 15.4 km/s, 3.26 AU per year, and was 108 AU away (2015 April), crossing the heliopause Real Soon Now.

InterstellarAge (last edited 2015-10-03 05:30:24 by KeithLofstrom)