New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: We've recently made changes to our user database and have removed inactive and spam users. If you can not login, please re-register.

#1 2005-03-10 00:00:43

Stephen
Member
Registered: 2004-01-16
Posts: 68

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Looks like it may be curtains for Voyager:

"NASA has told scientists working on some of the agency's longest-running space missions--including the twin Voyagers now speeding towards the edge of the Solar System--that they may have to shut down operations in October to save money."
                  --posted by James Oberg to the sci.space.policy newsgroup

The origin appears to be this news item in Nature which I do not have access to but whose headline reads "NASA's funding shortfall means journey's end for Voyager probes".


======
Stephen

Offline

#2 2005-03-10 05:39:55

hubricide
Member
Registered: 2004-07-26
Posts: 49

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Aw.  How much money does it really cost to check the transmissions from Voyager periodically?  Not much, I wager.

Offline

#3 2005-03-10 06:54:29

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

This can be all automated by programing the antenna to point at the right direction and to record all for later analysis. The trouble is most of the cost is analysis then and only a small cost for an unmanned automated reciever station. IMO I do not think one exists.

Even the rovers once we feel we have gotten all we can from them will finally fall under the same budgetary axe and be ignored or shut off, or even used as a projectile for some experiment say canyon diving. But all that aside Nasa never budgets in but a few months or years into anything that they do. They must always go back to congress for additional funding or cook the books to get the funds from internally.

Offline

#4 2005-03-10 08:11:53

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

*Just as they're nearing the heliosheath.  sad  Damn.  This is, IMO, very sad news. 

Voyager, he says, is entering one of the most interesting scientific phases of its long life as its particle detectors approach the edge of the Solar System.

Voyagers 1 and 2 are now ...on their final quest - to locate the unknown boundary between the Sun's domain and the realm where interstellar space begins

IBEX is in the works, sure -- but won't be launched until 2008.  Vs 1 and 2 have gone that far already. 

"Is being done without a usual formal science review."  Sounds TOO familiar.  :down:

Bad, too, for Ulysses and Wind, etc.

:bars:

Science should NOT be sacrificed due to alleged budgetary considerations.  There's enough money to keep these missions afloat until the time they were originally planned to expire.  It's just a matter of priorities, and apparently science isn't one of them...unfortunately.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#5 2005-03-10 11:21:59

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Indeed, I've been reading about some of these big cutbacks

LtlPhyscis posted a bit of info
Quote
"The President's speech a year ago that set us on this vaguely defined drive to go to the Moon again, and to Mars after that, basically upset the entire funding structure within NASA. The Exploration Directorate was founded as the result of a massive internal reorganization. Suddenly if you wanted your research to survive, you had to compete for funding with the rest of NASA and the academic community - ALL of it; not just your specialty - and make it relevant to manned space flight. Most of us in the computer research field had been aiming more towards the robotic planetary missions prior to that.
Everyone in my division spent most of last year in a panic writing proposals for funding. The work we already had funding for was neglected while we tried to figure out what the new management wanted to hear.
At the same time, existing programs that were funding ongoing research got cut to shreds. Their funds essentially got shoveled into the Return To Flight drive (get shuttle and station back on their feet).
The upshot is we're sacrificing NASA's long-term future work to fund the completion of the ISS. Note that the article mentions 4 NASA research centers as having to cut staff - Ames (ARC), Dryden (DFRC), Glenn (GRC) and Langley (LARC). These are the places where basic research and advanced development are done. "


and then there was the sad new of other possible cuts, the need to quickly push shuttle to fly back and forth over 20 times to do cargo runs for the ISS and then the chop down on JIMO funding

Space daily has some news on the recent happenings ( watch out for Jeff Bell )
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/voyager1-05a.html

How long would it take to get other spacecraft to the place where the Voyagers are now ?
They give the axe to Voyager but its costs over 40 times as much to fly a single shuttle mission, and shuttle doesn't have  a good record.

the space dialy spacetravel news item says



The decision - which NASA officials say is not yet final - has angered space scientists, who are calling calling the moves penny-wise and pound-foolish, and that it is being done without a usual formal science review.

Lennard Fisk, a University of Michigan space scientist who chairs the National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board and is a former head of NASA space science, as saying the cuts were "an extremely foolish thing to do".


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

Offline

#6 2005-03-10 11:47:51

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Boy.

This is far worse than scrapping Hubble, IMO... Voyager, Ulysses, Polar, Wind, Geotail, FAST (Fast Auroral SnapshoT) and TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer) getting the axe, Jeebus.

Now wait for the scientist to start *really* hating manned missions.
and... I'd understand them, this is utter foolishness.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

Offline

#7 2005-03-10 19:38:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Nasa's twin Voyager probes may have to close down in October to save money, the US space agency has said.

With the facts of how long it will take to get to the outer boundary:

Launched in 1977, Voyagers One and Two are now more than 14 billion and 11 billion km from Earth, respectively.

They are on their final mission to locate the boundary between the Sun's domain and interstellar space.

Even if Ibex is a successful. Why would we spent so much money on a new vehicle that will only in the end run be cancelled in later years before the research can be completed.

But the agency's Earth-Sun System division has had to cut its budget for next year from $74m to $53m, meaning that some projects will be abandoned.

Although the Voyager probes are thought to have another 15 years of life left in them, they are very expensive to run, costing Nasa about $4.2m a year for operations and data analysis.

All in all this is not all that much money per year. This is bean counting at its worst.  sad

Offline

#8 2005-03-11 10:01:26

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

*Just recalled this image:

Never_give_up.jpg

I don't mean to sound dramatic, but I sure can sympathize with that frog; it's exactly how I view the situation.  Am down in the dumps about all these funding cuts.

And I'm still trying to comprehend their actually considering pulling the plug on the Voyagers.  After all this time and just as they're at the threshold of the heliosheath. 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#9 2005-03-11 13:12:05

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Pheh!

Kill them all, regardless?  Perhaps, instead of just spinning out how much that will save, someone ought to wonder about how much that will cost and try to find a balance between the two. 

Cost efficiency is not always cost efficient.


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

Offline

#10 2005-03-11 14:35:18

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Pheh!

Kill them all, regardless?

*Yeah, I hear you.  I'm so bummed out about this I keep forgetting we've just received our first MER photo of a dust devil on Mars from Spirit.  :-\  And I've been waiting for THAT ever since the MERs got rolling.

Well thank god we still have the ground-based telescopes!  Unless they'll be knocking them down with bulldozers next, because of this alleged funding crap. 

Really feeling like "one step forward, TWO steps BACK" lately.

Maybe I'll take Ian's advice and start drinking.  :laugh: 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#11 2005-03-31 08:01:49

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

I know that the pioneer probes have not been active for a long time but they had a lingering question as to why they were slowing down. This I wonder if the voyager probes at at the same relative distance can they give us the answer to the pioneer probes question. If we turn them off to soon we will never have an answer.

Is the Kuiper Belt Slowing the Pioneer Spacecraft?

Could the Pioneering Pair have been feeling a bit in the "dark" (as in "dark matter" or "dark energy")? Were they having a "Solar Quadrupole" moment? Could n-dimensional "branes" be behind it? Or has "back-gravity" from behind the Sun played a role? Before things get too exotic, maybe there's a simpler explanation.

The question is: "What is the source of the unexpected increase in gravity effecting the probes?". One answer lies in "dark matter". Strangely, another lies in "dark energy" - the opposing force to gravity in the Universe. A third is in the domain of "string theory" (two local "branes" - the equivalent of local n-dimensional "tectonic plates" - may intersect in our system). One theory relates to "back-gravitational pull" (from the opposite side of the Solar System opposite each probe). There is also the possibility that the pair are having "Solar Quadrupolar Moments" or are being slowed by unexpected material in the Kuiper Belt outside Uranus.

Offline

#12 2005-03-31 09:02:36

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

I know that the pioneer probes have not been active for a long time but they had a lingering question as to why they were slowing down. This I wonder if the voyager probes at at the same relative distance can they give us the answer to the pioneer probes question. If we turn them off to soon we will never have an answer.

Is the Kuiper Belt Slowing the Pioneer Spacecraft?

*As for why they might be slowing down, that issue was raised in a different thread last year (no, I don't expect you to have recalled this).  See page 3 of that thread, Robert Dyck's reply to me dated October 20, 2004.  We were wondering about the heliosheath being the cause of this situation.

Took me some searching to relocate that brief discussion between Robert and I, but Ikonboard has a splendid "Search" feature apparently.  :up:

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#13 2005-03-31 11:02:19

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Thanks Cindy, it leads to more questions than answers if the ship that we have out there are not alowed to continue being funded in order for the scienctist to get the needed data from the instruments that are working. I know that the IBEX mission is also along the same lines but that is still a long ways off.

Offline

#14 2005-04-11 09:51:29

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Lost in space a GLOBE EDITORIAL

FOR 28 years, NASA scientists have been receiving data from the twin Voyager probes that are now nearing the edge of the solar system. The Voyagers achieved their goals in the 1980s, but both can still send highly prized data until they exhaust their plutonium power sources in about 2020.

Voyager -- one of 13 ''extended mission" probes that are still sending data from different points in the solar system -- is not seen as a high priority in a NASA division that has been told to slash its 2006 budget by 29 percent, from $75 million to $53 million.

I wonder what the other 12 are?

The cost of replacing the voyager probes later inorder to obtain the data that these would have returned should be also weighed when it comes to the cancelling of them.
This same considerations should also be weighed in for there replacement cost for all of the other missions as well.

Offline

#15 2005-04-12 08:13:19

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Voyager -- one of 13 ''extended mission" probes that are still sending data from different points in the solar system -- is not seen as a high priority in a NASA division that has been told to slash its 2006 budget by 29 percent, from $75 million to $53 million.

I wonder what the other 12 are?

*Well, Rik's named a few of them:

Voyager, Ulysses, Polar, Wind, Geotail, FAST (Fast Auroral SnapshoT) and TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer)

(these were also named in the article).

Here's a list of missions by phase

The remaining unlisted (in the recent articles) missions should be in there.

Depressing.

It's so damned absurd to cut the Voyager probes now, for reasons I've already expressed.  Staffing is down to 10 people.  Data must be retrieved in real-time (12-hour delay) because there's no storage capability in Voyager probes' software.

Whatever info about the heliosheath/pause which could be obtained from the Voyager probes could certainly complement upcoming mission discoveries, including whatever is gained from IBEX.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#16 2005-04-12 10:20:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

But could a storage process and automated reciever possibly do the work that would be required to collect the data?
But then again what would that cost, hopefully less than the cost of its current budget.

Offline

#17 2005-04-12 10:35:20

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

But could a storage process and automated reciever possibly do the work that would be required to collect the data?
But then again what would that cost, hopefully less than the cost of its current budget.

*Well, I'm not qualified to speculate much.  Automated collection of the data seems entirely possible (receive/store in a computer).

But then that data has to be processed/analyzed too. 

Getting out of my league here. 

Can anyone else offer an insight please?

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#18 2005-04-12 11:18:04

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Decision to ax Voyagers may come April 15

--Cindy

::EDIT::  And this is most heart-rending of all:

From NASA's own Voyager webpage:
"For the past two years or so, Voyager 1 has detected phenomena unlike any encountered before in all its years of exploration.  These observations and what they may infer about the approach to the termination shock have been the subject of on-going scientific debates.

00000013.gif


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#19 2005-04-12 11:33:26

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

I guess what bothers most is that we are about to embark on a journey of space exploration where scienctific data collection is of the utmost but yet we are ready to just switch if off as being to much expense. sad

Offline

#20 2005-04-13 16:53:24

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,861
Website

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

In case anyone is reading this, the Winnipeg chapter of the Mars Society has contacted ITT with an offer to build a dish array deep space receiving station to off-load some of the work from the congested Deep Space Network. ITT has the contract to operate DSN for NASA. The response I got was [i:post_uid0]"I have forwarded your request to the people in this part of our business.  They will respond directly to you if this is something they're interested in pursuing."[/i:post_uid0] In other words "Don't call us, we'll call you." That response was May 24, 2004; almost a year ago. The local chapter was looking for donated dishes and a couple members were in negotiations to buy land, but we've encountered another group in Canada. The Student Managed Radio Telescope (SMRT) is associated with the University of Waterloo, and already has land and dishes. They have 32 dishes, each 3 metre diameter and solid aluminum, not mesh. The dishes came from a decommissioned radio astronomy observatory. The guys at SMRT already have several of the dishes operational and receiving radio astronomy signals. We are willing to operate a Deep Space Station for receiving data using these surplus dishes, donated land, and student labour. Construction to erect the remaining dishes and electronics would be donated by the Mars Society Canada and Canadian Space Society. How much cheaper can you get?

The intent of this project was to receive data from interplanetary probes extended beyond their original mission. Hopefully we could exchange data reception time for time on a one of NASA's orbiters that have a Mars Relay antenna. A Mars Society mission such as a balloon could transmit data to MGS or Odyssey for relay to Earth. Saving Voyager would be an excellent start. Voyager is the farthest of all probes in space; perhaps we could trade reception time from a probe closer to Earth for time on Goldstone's big dish to receive data from Voyager.

Links:
SMRT
Winnipeg chapter project

Offline

#21 2005-04-14 08:36:10

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Thanks RobertDyck for the info from the canadian Mars society. Which brings me to the question of how active is the one for the US? ???
One that note some of those that want answers are pouring over the old data from the pioneer's. Physicist Won't Let Problem Rest

They are still trying to figure out why they are slowing down. The last contact with one of them was more than a couple of years ago.
The new horizon probe after the mission to pluto is also done has been a thought for another attempt to possibly answer this question. But still we require long range and very large dish systems to monitor these probes many years after nasa is done with them.

Offline

#22 2005-04-15 10:14:56

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Pulling the plug on science? From Voyager spacecraft to atom smashers, America's long-term research faces an era of budget cuts.

While we are on the verge of starting anew for the purpose of space exploration there is a down side to having started on this path. It is the sacrifice of science for the purpose of freeing up cash with Nasa fixed budgets.
This is just one of thoses that appears on the chopping block and this is probably not the last.

To align itself with President Bush's vision for space exploration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has notified mission managers of its intent to pull the plug on several projects, including the prized Voyager spacecraft. These 28-year-old craft are now approaching the solar system's edge - with enough power left to keep them phoning home until 2020 about regions of space that humans are unlikely to probe again for decades.

Offline

#23 2005-04-15 10:18:26

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

These 28-year-old craft are now approaching the solar system's edge - with enough power left to keep them phoning home until 2020 about regions of space that humans are unlikely to probe again for decades.

*This is totally insane.   :angry:

I'm on the lookout for news as to any final decision that may be made today, per my post of April 12.

If they do ax the Voyagers, I will -NEVER- forgive NASA.  (Yeah, I know they don't care about my "nobody taxpayer" opinion...but just the same...)

The partial quote I made the other day, again: 

For the past two years or so, Voyager 1 has detected phenomena unlike any encountered before in all its years of exploration.

Insane to quit the mission NOW.  ::sigh::

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#24 2005-04-15 10:57:39

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,360

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Did some more searching for past topics where the SEV has cause cancellations to have already occurred.

This was just one of then: Its not just Hubble, other NASA cuts

I am sure if I look hard enough I will find others from the past.

On another note of Nasa resources being used for things not space related the Olympic bomber of Atlanta had video the was also processed by the staff that cleared up blurry Hubble images recently. :angry:

Offline

#25 2005-04-15 15:57:42

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,850

Re: Voyager - Interstellar mission

Well I voted no in the poll.

The voyager has been a very very successful probe and is worthy of respect but to advance to the Moon and Mars we have to make very hard choices. Keeping in contact with a probe which is not giving new data is a choice and not keeping an eye on it and spending money is one of those.

NASA has to cut and slash to make the budget it has stretch it has to make the hard choices and no longer paying to listen to voyager is one that I can support. I have more problems with the Hubble but the cost to repair it for the little it can give us above earth based telescopes again dooms that mission.

NASA needs the money it has to be hard and dooming missions is hard. But then the amount of job cuts is hard, these are peoples lives that we are ripping apart and listening to Voyager or sending someone home to tell his wife that he is redundant and that they and the kids have to move to get a worse paying job is also hard. But it still has to be done, if we are to return to the Moon and go further.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB