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VOYAGER 1 Signal Received by AMSAT-DL Group 110

Posted by Hemos
from the the-power-of-communications dept.
Anonymous Coward writes " Space probe VOYAGER 1 successfully received. On March 31st, 2006 an AMSAT-DL /IUZ team received a signal from the American space probe VOYAGER 1 with the 20 m antenna in Bochum. The distance was 14.7 billion km. This is a new record for AMSAT-DL and IUZ Bochum. The received signal was clearly identified through means of doppler shift and position in the sky. The receive frequency was exactly measured and compared with the information provided by NASA. This distance equals approximately 98 times the distance between Earth and Sun. VOYAGER 1 is the most distant object ever built by mankind. This again proves the superior performance of the Bochum antenna. Most probably this is the first time Voyager 1 has been received by radio amateurs. VOYAGER 1 was launched on 5. September 1977 by NASA. It transmitted the first close-up pictures of Jupiter and Saturn. In 2004 VOYAGER 1 passed the Termination Shock Region, where the solar wind mixes with interstellar gas. VOYAGER 1 today is still active, measuring the interstellar magnetic field. The following radio amateurs were involved: Freddy de Guchteneire, ON6UG James Miller, G3RUH Hartmut Paesler, DL1YDD Achim Vollhardt, DH2VA/HB9DUN Special thanks to Thilo Elsner, DJ5YM of the IUZ Bochum, Roger Ludwig of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena USA and the Deep Space Network Tracking Station in Madrid, Spain for their cooperation. "
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VOYAGER 1 Signal Received by AMSAT-DL Group

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:09AM (#15049034) Homepage Journal
    Message contents:
    I AM V'GER, YOU ARE NOT TRUE LIFE FORMS.
    I will remove the infestation on the Creator's planet.

    Mr Sulu, Brown alert, we're gonna need some new uniforms.
  • It must be such a truly incredible day for those amateur radio guys.
    • No shit? :)
  • QSL Card (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geoffeg (15786) <geoffeg@ s l oth.org> on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:22AM (#15049078) Homepage
    Wow, I'd love to have that QSL card! :)
  • Light Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Detritus (11846) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:46AM (#15049185) Homepage
    That's about 13.6 hours at the speed of light, compared to a bit over 8 minutes to get from the Sun to the Earth.

    Receiving anything at that distance is a very impressive feat. There are so many things that have to work near-perfectly to detect such a weak signal.

  • Field Day (Score:5, Funny)

    by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:46AM (#15049186) Journal
    If they send a signal back out to Voyager now, will they be able to count it for bonus points on this year's Field Day?

    • If they send a signal back out to Voyager now, will they be able to count it for bonus points on this year's Field Day?

      Only if it answers and confirms their callsign and FD exchange.
  • Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cephalien (529516) <benjaminlungerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:47AM (#15049189)
    This is really exciting for me as a space buff, but bittersweet at the same time.

    It's great to know that something launched before I was born (1980), can still be found and active.. but at the same time, where is the spirit NASA used to have? These days it always seems about money & more money, while they whine and complain about the ever present-flaws in the space shuttle.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't do everything possible to keep our astronauts safe, but if they hadn't contracted the shuttle out to the lowest bidder in the first place, we might have better craft.

    I wonder how much it would cost to launch a few more Voyager-like probes?
    • Re:Excellent! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      Weren't the probes launched when they were because of a specific set of planetary conditions which made such a mission (a grand tour) favourable? (Gravitational slingshots)

      Whilst I agree NASA seem to have been bogged down by the shuttle, there have been some such successes the rovers being the main recent shining examples.

      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Informative)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:06AM (#15049294) Homepage Journal
        I found a link about the timing of the mission [ucr.edu].
        From the article:

        About every 175 years, the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are aligned geometrically in such a way as to minimize the trip time and energy required to tour all four. In 1965, Gary Flandro, who was at JPL at the time, pointed out that the next such opportunity would occur in 1976, 1977, and 1978 and designed some Grand Tour gravity-assist trajectories that included an Earth-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune mission.


        • by hubie (108345)
          One joke I recall was that to properly place blame you need to criticise the Jefferson administration because the last time such an alignment was possible was on his watch, and his science advisors didn't advocating launching anything.
        • About every 175 years, the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are aligned geometrically.... the next such opportunity would occur in 1976, 1977, and 1978 and designed some Grand Tour gravity-assist trajectories that included an Earth-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune mission.

          Actually, Grand Tour plan was dumped due to budget cuts, and the Voyagers were a consolation prize. It is by mostly luck that Voyager 2 visited all four planets. Both were only scheduled to go to jup and saturn, but two
    • but at the same time, where is the spirit NASA used to have?

      Totally, brother! Erm.. I agree, I mean. It was a long time since man stepped on the Moon or built ever increasingly cool (and fast!) aircraft just for fun^H^H^Hscience. Why don't we all have our own rocket.. things... to fly in?! Combine the computer development we've seen the latest decades with what we could have had if the "hard" technology had continued to flourish and we would be living in a sci-fi novel. It seems. To bad I will have to arr

    • ... but at the same time, where is the spirit NASA used to have?

      Gone. That's what happens when politicians dictate scientists what they have to do.

      These days it always seems about money & more money,

      Actually, it's money and less money.

      I wonder how much it would cost to launch a few more Voyager-like probes?

      Lots (as with launching anything). However, do we _want_ Voyager-like probes that just zip past a few scenic views and then leave the solar system for good ? Missions along the line of Cassini or J

      • One of the motivations behind the voyager "grand tour" missions was to spot interesting places to "hang around". But I agree, stuff like Cassini or the Great Observatories [nasa.gov] makes a "Buck Rogers" joy ride to mars look like an expensive cold war stunt.
    • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oni (41625) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:13AM (#15050238) Homepage
      but at the same time, where is the spirit NASA used to have?

      Well, I understand what you're getting at, but I just want to point out that the Cassini mission to Saturn was at least as important scientifically as Voyager's flyby. Cassini has already returned many hundreds of times more data about just Saturn, than both Voyagers returned from all the planets combined.

      When you and I were born, no human being in the history of our species had ever seen the surface of Titan. Now, thanks to Cassini (and the lander which I cannot spell), we have.

      Don't you think that's amazing? Don't you think that is in the highest spirit of NASA?

      And what about the many Mars rovers and orbiters? I think you need to step back and think about how totally cool it is that we have machine rolling around on an alien planet.

      And what about the Galileo mission to Jupiter? I know that one had some problems but still, it was cool.

      And we have the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto. Think about how cool that is! No human being today can tell you what the surface of Pluto looks like. Aren't you curious? I am! One day soon, thanks to NASA, we'll know.

      And one day (unless congress cancels it) we'll have the ion-engine powered JIMO mission to orbit Europa. How cool is that??

      Please don't sell NASA short. In the Apollo days, NASA's budget was like 1% of the GDP. It was like what we're spending in Iraq. All that, just going to NASA! Their budget hasn't gone up with inflation, it's gone way down.
      • "The US can afford maintaining bases in Iraq, he argues. US defense spending now amounts to a bit more than 4 percent of gross domestic product, the nation's output of goods and services. It might rise as a result of Iraq bases to 5 percent of GDP, still less than the 6.5 percent of GDP in the cold war or the 10 percent during the Vietnam War."
      • And we have the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto. Think about how cool that is! No human being today can tell you what the surface of Pluto looks like. Aren't you curious? I am! One day soon, thanks to NASA, we'll know.


        Allow me to paraphrase Lewis Black on this:

        The probe is expected to reach Pluto in just nine short years. NINE YEARS! I can't wait that long! I need to know what's happening on Pluto NOW!
    • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vellmont (569020) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:49AM (#15050628) Homepage

      but at the same time, where is the spirit NASA used to have?


      Did it go somewhere? I really don't understand this attitude at all. Nasa currently still has TWO robots roaming around Mars, just successfully deployed another orbiter around Mars, landed a probe (along with the ESA) on Titan, returned material from both a comet and interstellar space, returned material from the Sun (even though it smashed into the desert), and tentatively proved yet another prediction of general relativity (frame dragging). That's all happened within the last couple years!

      I'd say the spirit of NASA is more alive than it's ever been!

      What really worries me is what it'll be like in another 5 years if all these budget cuts and diverting funds away from science missions keeps happening.
      • Re:Excellent! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Iron Sun (227218)
        I would rather say that ESA landed a probe (along with NASA) on Titan. The probe was European, they landed it. Cassini took it there and acted as relay, thus NASA deserve the co-starring accreditation.

        Your other examples were good, there was no need to co-opt others achievements. Giving credit where it's due shouldn't be done backhandedly.

      • Planetary and scientific missions tend to be cyclical. The mid-70's had a burst of probe activity, tapered off in the 80's and early 90's, and then jumped up again in the mid 90's, perhaps due revenue from the dot-com bubble. I suspect another lull because of deficits and budget cuts.

        BTW, the recent Pluto-bound probe is a cool mission that should be listed.
               
    • It's great to know that something launched before I was born (1980), can still be found and active.. but at the same time, where is the spirit NASA used to have? These days it always seems about money & more money, while they whine and complain about the ever present-flaws in the space shuttle.

      In addition to what LiquidCooled said... we also no longer have that little booster called the "Cold War." During that time we didn't care how much money we spent as long as we were ahead of the Soviets. Bein
      • It was the warm war that killed most of NASA.
        Apollo and many of the follow on projects where cut and cut because of the cost of Vietnam. Vietnam cost the US twice what Iraq is costing us now.
        You comment on basic research is interesting. Bell Labs and Xerox Parc are pretty much no more but then research changes as technology moves for cutting edge to mainstream.
        Think about it. The only thing about computers that has changed much in the last 10 years is speed. Most PCs are using the same ISA that Intel introd
        • OS/X is NextStep, and Linux is Unix.

          haha, i'm feeling relieved for you that you didn't get modded up, otherwise you would have got your ass kicked for what I just quoted.

          OS X is NeXTStep is only one in the long series of OS X is Unix/BSD/FreeBSD/Darwin. get yourself a copy of NeXTStep and let me know how well it compares with Mac OS X from the user/advanced user POV. Mac OS X may be partially based on NeXTStep, but what it's definitly not it.

          Linux is Unix... Linux is _a_ Unix, Mac OS X is _a_ Unix, BeOS/Ze

          • "NeXTStep and let me know how well it compares with Mac OS X from the user/advanced user POV. Mac OS X may be partially based on NeXTStep, but what it's definitely not it."
            This is where you don't get it. OS/X NeXTStep from the PROGRAMMERS point of view. The user interface may change and the API expands but it is still basically the same as NeXTStep. Don't get me wrong NeXTStep was a very good OO framework and still is.
            Linux is only an evolution of Unix.
            You are thinking eye candy/ user interface. I am think
            • You ain't getting my point. Let me re-phrase it : from NeXTStep to Mac OS X 10.4.6, has there been any improvement to be seen from the programmer POV, or is Mac OS X = NeXTStep + eye candy?

              Please notice that this is a rhetoric question

              • Improvements yes. Radical change? No. That is what a mature technology is all about. You get gradual improvements without huge change.
                From a programmers point of view there is very little difference between NeXTStep and OS/X. The only big change I can thing of is the move from Display Postscript to Aqua.
                Yes OS X == NeXTStep + eye candy! Right down to the use of Object C instead of c++ as the programing environment of choice. A NeXT step programmer will sit right down at an OS/X machine and feel right at hom
    • "I'm not saying we shouldn't do everything possible to keep our astronauts safe, but if they hadn't contracted the shuttle out to the lowest bidder in the first place, we might have better craft."

      IANA rocket scientist, but it seems to me that the fundamental flaw in the shuttle was the design requirement that it should be able to recover payloads from orbit. If not for that, it would have been built with the payload on top of the booster and the crew vehicle on top of that, where it would be safe from de

    • I'm not saying we shouldn't do everything possible to keep our astronauts safe, but if they hadn't contracted the shuttle out to the lowest bidder in the first place, we might have better craft.

      Actually, in light of consideration 1 (money), if they hadn't contracted out to the lowest bidder in the first place they would have had no craft.
    • [I]f they hadn't contracted the shuttle out to the lowest bidder in the first place, we might have better craft.

      The Space Shuttle was designed for a lifespan of 5-10 years (one week in orbit, two weeks to prep for the next stint aloft; 100 missions), and started flying in the early 80s. Do the math. True, the shuttle fleet hasn't performed half the missions it was 'supposed' to fly, but any mechanic can tell you, age can take as much of a toll on systems as mileage does. The Space Shuttle should have

    • It's great to know that something launched before I was born (1980), can still be found and active

      I was 7 when this was launched- and I want a laptop with those batteries!
      • Are you sure ?

        As long as you don't mind a big lump of Plutonium in your pocket or backpack and the associated health issues, you can [doe.gov], at least in theory.
  • Standing Ovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:47AM (#15049191)
    Actually, I'd like to shake their hands. Receiving such a weak signal as a radio amateur proves that there is still a lot of life in the hobby. Kudos to the guys!!!

    PS. The message said "All of your Voyager are belong to us"
  • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:51AM (#15049205)
    Thank God for clean efficient nuclear power. If these had been solar powered we would've lost contact a long time ago.
  • With all the semi-news posts I've seen on Slashdot the last few weeks, this news about Voyager has made up for it.

    Job very well done to ALL members of the Voyager team, wherever you are today.
  • What a coincidence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:07AM (#15049300) Homepage Journal
    I took my parents down to the Smithsonians Air & Space Annex near Dulles Airport on saturday. While we were in the space/rocketry section my dad mentioned that some hams had received a message from 'one of those spacecraft way out there'. I thought he meant Pioneer but, my dad being my dad, had obviously misremembered which spacecraft.

    I questioned him on this and he assured me that the signal reception had been confirmed.

    Not that this adds anything to the conversation other than a weird coincidence of him telling me about this and now seeing the story.

    As an aside, I would highly recommend visiting the annex if you get the chance. The number and variety of planes in the hangar is impressive. Essentially the entire history of flight, from a competitor to the Wright Brothers to ballooning and on to spaceflight, is represented. They even have the model of the mother ship from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and you can see the easter eggs the designers added such as an R2D2 figure, a graveyard and two airplanes.

    There are even several planes which are the only ones of their kind to exist anywhere in the world including several from WWII as well as the Enola Gay.

    It will take the entire day to see everything so plan accordingly. The parking is $12 a car not including the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road.
    • My dad told me there was something in the news about something. What an amazing coicidence that I saw it on a news website a few days later.

      Amazing.
    • A colleague has been involved in establishing the web site for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Museum. See www.defence.gov.au/raaf/raafmuseum [defence.gov.au].

      Yes, this is also off-topic! :-)

    • Not that this adds anything to the conversation other than a weird coincidence of him telling me about this and now seeing the story.

      Your dad tells you about a current event and you read it on a news web site not soon after Amazing!

      What would be really a coincidence is if you found out your dad has the same last name as you or something.
  • by FridayBob (619244) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:07AM (#15049302) Homepage
    Now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And to think that now even amateurs can contact Voyager 1, even though it's almost 100AU away. This makes me want to build my own compact, high-performance radio telescope, with a superconducting receiver, just so that I can commune with V'ger before I go to bed at night. :-)
  • by Ricken (797341) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:08AM (#15049306)
    Deep Space Radar Telemetry huh....
    • Deep Space Radar Telemetry huh....

      I believe this is the part in the movie where they ask "In English please?" and then someone else provides a dumbed-down explanation so that you can understand with no learning required on your part.
       
  • Um, so what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oni (41625) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:31AM (#15049427) Homepage
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but people are in constant contact with Voyager. This headline makes it sound like nobody has heard from Voyager in years, but the truth is, they never lost it.

    This is just a story about how some amatures managed to find it. I mean, that's cool. Don't get me wrong. Congrats to those guys. But don't play it up to be more than that.
    • Re:Um, so what? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by updatelee (244571)
      nasa is in contact with voyager 1 and 2 aprox 12h a day using a 70m dish, amater's used a 28m dish ! thats whats incredible.
  • by sconeu (64226) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:29AM (#15050403) Homepage Journal
    VOYAGER 1 was launched on 5. September 1977 by NASA. It transmitted the first close-up pictures of Jupiter and Saturn

    Didn't Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 do that first?
    • [first closeup images] Didn't Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 do that first?

      Indeed. However, I suppose it depends on how you define "close-up". The Pioneers didn't have very good resolution.
                 
  • So what would this have said about the SETI program if they had recieved a signal that they couldn't verify with NASA?

  • I clicked through to read TFA, and (in addition to it being in German), it was shorter than the summary! ... no, wait, it was just a bad link to the home page of this particular group, rather than to the actual article [amsat-dl.org] that the AC submitter appears to have translated practically word-for-word to create the summary (which nevertheless didn't bother to link to the source article).

    Is it too much to ask that the summary ... summarize? Can someone for the love of FSM explain to me why we needed not only all
  • Did they bring a towel? Very important for space travel.
  • Doesn't this increase the chance of it being hacked? Osama would love to embarass us by making our furthest probe dump all its stablizing propellent and spin into oblivion.
         
  • The signal that the amateur radio guys received sounded somthing like:

    "Help! I Want to come back, you bastards!"

    Oh well, that should happen in about two hundred and fifty years or so, according to a Mr G. Roddenberry!
  • Actually, the decoded message was

    "Crap, it's cold out here."

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