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Voyager: Living on the Edge of the Solar System
05.23.06
 
NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft are beaming back new information about the final frontier of our solar system, including evidence of "potholes" in the turbulent zone near the edge. Some new findings are being presented at the American Geophysical Union conference in Baltimore on Tuesday, May 23.

The Voyagers launched in 1977 on a journey to the outer planets. In their nearly 30 years in space, the spacecraft have sent back stunning images and huge amounts of data about the planets. They are on their way to becoming the first spacecraft to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. That milestone could happen within a decade or so.

More information is at http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/ .

CUT 1 – VOYAGER PROJECT SCIENTIST DR. ED STONE OF CALTECH (THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY) IN PASADENA DESCRIBES A SURPRISE DISCOVERY BY VOYAGER 1 IN THE FINAL FRONTIER OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM: THE MAGNETIC FIELD IN THE REGION IS NOT SMOOTH AND REGULAR.
Running time: :04
OUT: "HAS BUMPS"
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Transcript of CUT 1: "The magnetic field there has potholes in it, and it has bumps."

CUT 2 – VOYAGER PROJECT SCIENTIST DR. ED STONE DESCRIBES THE AREA WHERE THE TWO SPACECRAFT ARE RIGHT NOW – INSIDE THE "SUN'S TERRITORY," CALLED THE HELIOSPHERE.
Running time: :15
OUT: "OTHER STARS"
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Transcript of CUT 2: "Inside the heliosphere all the material is coming from the sun, and that's where all the planets are, that's where all the spacecraft have been, that's where Voyager still is. But eventually Voyager will exit this bubble and be in interstellar space surrounded by material from other stars."

CUT 3 – VOYAGER PROJECT SCIENTIST DR. ED STONE SAYS IN 1977, WHEN THE TWO VOYAGER SPACECRAFT WERE LAUNCHED, SCIENTISTS HAD NO IDEA THAT NEARLY 30 YEARS LATER, THE VOYAGERS WOULD STILL BE WORKING.
Running time: :12
OUT: "OTHER STARS"
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Transcript of CUT 3: "In 1977, the space age itself was only 20 years old, so we had no way of knowing that a spacecraft could last so long and could communicate and operate so far from the sun. But the Voyagers just keep going."

+ Related podcast: Complete interview with Dr. Stone