“Good planets are hard to find.”
I’m generally not too easy to impress, unless you look at my youthful dating record. However, there were recently numerous reports on the Voyager missions, Voyagers I and II, because of the 40th anniversary of their launch. I was blown away by what I learned.
Things I learned, in no particular order. These missions, launched in 1977, were supposed to last about 4 or 5 years. The Voyagers travel about one million miles per day. The Voyagers are still sending back signals, which take about 3 hours to transmit. Signals were picked up from as far as a billion miles away.
New paragraph – The radio transmitter on the Voyager is working with 23 watts, or about the power of a refrigerator light bulb. Inner parts of the craft, which were judged to need protection in outer space, were wrapped in aluminum foil purchased from the grocery store. This was 1977 technology.
And more! This is one of the pictures sent back. It’s my favorite.
This is a picture of planet earth in a sunbeam, taken from about 4 billion miles away. Earth is that small white speck slightly above the middle of the beam on the left. That’s us!
More. This bit is about the life expectancy of our sun. Our sun has already existed for about four and a half billion years, and has burnt up about half of the hydrogen in its core. This leaves the Sun’s life expectancy at 5 billion more years, at which time the Sun’s elements will “swell” up, swallow Earth, and eventually die off into a small white dwarf. Won’t that story keep the kids up at night!
So what’s my point. I guess when I obsess about my “problems” I forget to look at the big picture. It’s really pretty big. If I’m going to think about a New Year’s resolution this year I’m going to do it while looking at the picture of Earth. Perspective, Sweetie.
If you want to see more amazing pictures courtesy of the Voyagers, go to eyes.nasa.gov. Go gently through the holidays.
Loveya – The Grandma
Artist, African hand drum student, yoga neophyte, and Grandmother of 22 or so grandchildren. I enjoy cooking and writing. I value good friends and quiet times for reading.