Thursday, September 12, 2013

Surprise: we left the solar system (last year)

Voyager 1 has entered interstellar space at last, NASA says. This is a neat article, but I'm a bit miffed at this wording: "the amount of ground it covers" - that spacecraft (Voyager) isn't covering ground, it's covering (now interstellar) space. Perhaps "its velocity" would have been more appropriate wording. Or "its speed." Or "the amount of distance it travels per second." But not the amount of "ground" it covers. That's just silly.

Of course, they are just now determining (for certain) that, in fact, it did leave the solar system (that is, it has crossed through and exited the heliopause, which demarks the edges of our solar system) last year. Granted, the instrument that was supposed to tell them this died back in 1980, leaving the team searching for clever ways to use other instrumentation to determine when it enters interstellar space (and, in fact, one facet of what's been determined as interstellar space has the team puzzled, that there was no change in the direction of the magnetic field between the heliopause and interstellar space of our Milky Way galaxy). And I'm not sure what's more amazing: that they did, in fact, find a way to determine that; that the majority of the instruments are still functional nearly 40 years later (then again, my 1967 Mustang is still functional, but it had a redo back in 87, whereas the Voyager craft haven't been serviced since leaving the earth); or that there is still a team at NASA monitoring the spacecraft! Whatever, just know that human-made devices have now officially left the solar system. Granted, there's probably significantly more computing power in my pocket in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S4, but that one is still well within the confines of our solar system.

Yes, I'm enjoying the Galaxy S4. Got something like 32 hours on a test charge of the battery, where I unplugged it yesterday morning at 100% (fully charged), did not charge it last night, and plugged it in this afternoon around 4 when the charge had dropped to 4%. Not bad, in my opinion. I am still undecided on a case for it: some sort of cover flap case since I put it in my pocket? A waterproof one (or at least splash proof) for great protection? Just leave it caseless and do my best to be careful with it? My last two phones before this one did fine with no cases (but, I admit, they did hit the floor from time to time). All these choices! I'm enjoying Flipboard, too - it's a quick way to catch up on a lot of news all at once, and quickly scan past the items you don't really care about. You can even integrate your social network feeds into the "cover story" section to get a nice flavor of lots of what's going on. Check it out, you may like it, too!

And, in case you missed it, check out my comparison of real and fake Galaxy S4 devices, in case you're in China to adopt a child and someone offers you a really cheap S4, or you see a too-good-to-be-true deal on eBay (hint: that kind of deal usually is). Here it is, enjoy!

1 comment:

Ninfa said...

yep, it is still funny! :)