Thursday, 24 March 2011

What goes up does not always come down?

Space travel has been on my mind, both the kind we can only speculate over (the visitors from somewhere else) and the tangible and proven variety (the chunks of metal and sensors that we have thrown up ourselves.) I have researched more of both kinds than I am happy to admit too: Nerd or Geek? I try to side-step both labels. “Writer of (Scientific) Speculative Fiction” is the perfect length to fit on the sticky note I’d be happy to wear.


Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 to explore the outer solar system? And that a few weeks before Voyager 1's launch, NASA launched Voyager 2 so it would take the scenic route: past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune? Do you think they muddled up the numbers and labelled the spaceships the wrong way around?

Voyager 2 is currently about 8.8 billion miles (14.1 billion km) from the sun and is traveling about 3,000 mph slower than Voyager 1.

After years of pootling along, sending back data that was, basically, the same old/same old, Voyager 1 just got interesting. It has entered a region of space where the speed of solar wind (charged particles streaming from the sun) is effectively zero. NASA scientists theorise that the solar wind has been blown sideways by a more powerful interstellar wind that blows in the spaces between stars .:/.:/.:/.:/    (This is my visual aid ;) )

Voyager 1 has crossed a boundary known as the termination shock.

The region immediately beyond the termination shock, where Voyager 1 is now, is called the heliosheath. The very edge of the solar system is a border known as the heliopause.

Once Voyager 1 travels beyond the heliosheath and crosses the heliopause, it will officially be in interstellar space.

NASA is counting down to the day when Voyager 1 starts sending back information from the space beyond.

But, what goes up must come down. I hope Voyager 2 comes complete with a message that says, "Ooops! Sorry!"
If I went to space I would miss the comfort of predictability... that and my family.
What do you think you would miss? 


  1. Oh, I would miss my children and hubby. Might be fun, but only for a day.

  2. Would love the experience, but could not leave my children behind.

  3. Gravity...both real and perceived, both physical and emotional. We need each other and space is so cold. Now, if I could be on the Enterprise, (star trek), that would be interesting.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  4. I would miss eating real food, fresh fruits and veggies. But if I had the chance to go into outer space, I'd be all over that!

  5. Hi Lindsay
    I would miss my wider family too. Sooo badly. I could do it like it was a vacation if lots of family and friends came along too.

    Hi Wendy
    It would be such and experience! I'd say bring the family along - they won't miss too much school by being away for a bit ;)

    Hi Nancy
    Gravity! It would be so hard to do without. I know I'd be gravitating hard towards family or others to orbit around with ;)

    Hi Sherrie
    Good point! You are soooo right. I can't do without fruit and vegetables. The scrapings on the top of a pizza don't satisfy. I am the original chop chunks and chew eater when it comes to vegetables, in particular.

  6. Hi Elaine,
    If my computer and Kindle worked there, I could live in space!

    I recently signed up for the A to Z challenge and saw your blog listed so I just stopped by to say "Hi".
    I look forward to reading your alphabet posts in April.

  7. Hi Gail
    You have reading and writing covered :)
    Easy communication would make make living in space easier to cope with.
    I'm looking forward to not having to decide what to post. I think April is going to spoil me. :D

  8. I would miss my family and shopping LOL

  9. Good shout, Summer! ;) I'd forgotten about shopping, probably all the excitement of space flight, but, yes I'd miss the shopping too.

  10. I'll be more interested in space travel when we figure out how to get there without dying of old age first. I do love to read about all the possibilities though...

  11. Wow. Space makes me feel so insignificant and small. My daughter asked me about how planets were made, so we watched some videos about the Big Bang. And man. We're tiny. I mean, there are millions of solar systems out there, and millions of galaxies. It's just crazy to think that. I can't wait for voyager one to break through that barrier of our solar system!

  12. That was fun Voyager information! If I went to space, I would miss In N Out Burger. They're only made in California, and they're delish.

  13. That was such an interesting post! I would miss my hubby. Then I would miss my dog. Next I would miss my writing groups. Then I would miss my art class. Doesn't look like I'd be much of a space traveler! But I do love to look at the night sky and speculate....

  14. Hi Marcy
    That is a valid concern. Boldly going would be easier without a zimmer frame ;)

    Hi Abby
    Our space is unfathomably vast. :)
    In this piece, I only got to the end of this galaxy. The beyond the edge stuff makes our vast look like stirring tee in a teacup tiny.

    Hi Julie
    I've added your food recommendation to my list of things to do, for when I get to California in the summer :) I may not have to cross the cosmos to eat one but the Atlantic and a continent is vast too ;)

    Hi Elizabeth
    I'm glad you enjoyed it :D Family, friends and the excitement of a life routine would be big things to miss.
    I was worried about the post. I'm running scared of a amateur geek label ;) Probably heading there even quicker now.