NASA is starting to shut down the Voyager probes, which launched in 1977 and made it deeper into space than anything since

NASA is shutting down the systems of the Voyager probes this year, Scientific American reported. 
The probes are flagging after 45 years — the move is a way of keeping them going up until 2030.
Voyager 1 and 2 launched in 1977 have made it further than any other object made by humans.

The epic interstellar journeys of NASA’s acclaimed Voyager probes are due to come to an end as the agency starts switching off their systems, Scientific American reported.

The probes launched 45 years ago, in 1977, and have pushed the boundaries of space exploration ever since. They are further away from Earth than any other manmade object, a record that will likely stay unbroken for decades.

The decision to reduce power on the probes is meant to extend their lifespan a few more years, taking them to around 2030, per Scientific American.

“We’ve done 10 times the warranty on the darn things,” Ralph McNutt, a physicist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory told the outlet, referring to the initial projections that their mission would last four years.

The probes are powered by radioactive plutonium, which has kept the tiny on-board computers running for decades on end.

The energy in the system is decreasing by about 4 watts a year, per Scientific American, requiring energy use to be cut.

“If everything goes really well, maybe we can get the missions extended into the 2030s. It just depends on the power. That’s the limiting point,” said Spilker.

Saturn’s rings are shown in false color in a picture taken by a Voyager probe on August 23, 1981.

The probes’ primary purpose was to fly by Jupiter and Saturn, a mission that they soon fulfilled. Then they just kept going, sending back images of our solar system and beaming home readings from deep space.

In 1990, Voyager …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

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