Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Space: the Veteran and the New Guy

It isn't just science, it's rocket science!

Voyager 1, the most distant man-made object from the sun, reached another milestone.  It has entered a region where the solar wind, outflowing gas from the sun, is no longer at its back.  The solar particles are now a cross-wind, meaning it is nearing the official edge of the solar system.  Already on its mission for thirty-three years, the probe will likely pass into interstellar space in the next couple of years.  The Voyager program remains a markee of the heyday of NASA.  Sadly, it appears the glory days are gone, even as the science continues unabated.

But now there are some new folks picking up the torch.  Space Exploration Technologies became the first non-governmental entity to put an object in orbit.  The test mission ended with a successful re-entry and splashdown from the unmanned craft.  There will be several more test flights as the corporation seeks NASA approval to dock with the International Space Station and eventual manned flight.

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