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View Full Version : Where would you send the Voyagers to intercept other life forms



Mr Q
2014-Mar-03, 08:54 PM
I recently heard on a "science" talk show broadcast over the radio that the Voyager (which one?) was heading for the globular M13 in Hercules. Does anyone know what target was chosen, if any? If none were chosen, why the gold plaque with the message?

So first, IS there a target area chosen for the two Voyagers and second, where would you send them to increase the chances of intercepting other life forms capable of understanding the message plaque(s)?

mikeEZfoSheezy
2014-Mar-03, 08:56 PM
On hulu plus watch the show Cosmic journeys

Voyager journeys to the stars

It was really cool and said where they are headed.

They are not headed to a specific place but they say which stars direction they are headed but they will be dead in around 10 years any way I think they said 2025 the won't function any longer but was a cool show to see where the voyagers are and which direction they are heading


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R.A.F.
2014-Mar-03, 09:38 PM
...IS there a target area chosen for the two Voyagers...

Short answer, no...the Voyagers path was determined by how it flew past the outer planets. "Target area" implies that there was a choice involved. After the Voyager's last encounters in the SS, scientists looked in the direction the Voyagers were going and "basically" said, "what's out in this direction that Voyager might reach in a few 10's of thousands of years?"

...and THAT was how the "target area" was decided...I just don't see it as being a "choice".



...and second, where would you send them to increase the chances of intercepting other life forms capable of understanding the message plaque(s)?

Since we don't have a clue where/if other life forms might be located (if at all) then any "where" you would send a probe would be just as "good" as any other "where".

Hornblower
2014-Mar-03, 09:42 PM
M13 is not even close. Voyager 1 is near the plane of the ecliptic, and Voyager 2 is well to the south as a result of the maneuver needed to visit both Neptune and its large moon Triton. M13 is far to the north of the ecliptic plane.

Swift
2014-Mar-03, 10:34 PM
Mr Q,

You second question (where to am a spacecraft so as to reach other beings) is a very "not simple" question and will be entirely too big a debate for Q&A. If you would like a discussion of that question, I would suggest you start a new thread in the Life in Space section.
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear, but the intent of my post in the Q&A thread (quoted above) was that only the second question (where to aim a probe) was to be discussed in Life in Space. I think the question as to whether there was a target for the Voyagers in interstellar space is best left in Q&A.

My take on the Q&A discussion is that there was no interstellar target for either Voyager, but if people think that needs to debated further, please take it to Q&A (you can use my quoted post as a link).

If we are adding a third question (why the gold plaque).... I guess put that in the original Q&A thread (there are more responses there), but the constant addition of more questions is really making this a mess.

I will also note that I've edited the thread title to better match this

R.A.F.
2014-Mar-03, 10:47 PM
I just read this thread (before Swift edited his post) read Swift's post on the other thread...became very confused, then came back here...

...and I'm feeling much better now...:D

mikeEZfoSheezy
2014-Mar-03, 10:53 PM
Personally I would send it towards gliese 581 star system it's only 20 ly away and we have discovered many planets in that system and who knows how many moons can be in that system. Even though it would take thousands and thousands of years for a space craft to get there if an alien found it they would know they are not alone ;)


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Solfe
2014-Mar-03, 11:54 PM
If money was no object, I would launch a flotilla of Voyagers to the 12 closest stars. I strongly suspect that there is zero chance of getting to the destination before the power runs out, but it could be worth it if it keeps people looking upwards. If there was a possibility of picking off all of the major planets with a recreated fly-by, that would be a bonus too.

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-04, 05:28 AM
If money was no object, I would launch a flotilla of Voyagers to the 12 closest stars. I strongly suspect that there is zero chance of getting to the destination before the power runs out,


With an RTG, yes. The Pu238 has a half-life of about 88 years, but the flight would be many tens of thousands of years.


Also, for a lot of stars, the spacecraft would have to go a bit faster than the Voyagers, just to catch up with them (for instance, at their velocity, either of the Voyagers, if pointed towards Alpha Centauri, would never get there because the star system will move away a bit faster than the spacecraft).

primummobile
2014-Mar-04, 11:10 AM
The Voyager probes don't have a gold plaque. They have a gold record that contains recordings of sounds from Earth. The Pioneer probes have the plaques.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-04, 05:54 PM
So with all the problems facing these spacecrafts - distances to nearest stars, speed of the spacecrafts, not to mention how will "they" detect, never mind actually recover these objects - Why did they bother in the first place? Is it just a massive EGO trip?

So far, only one answer to the thread question :clap: Seems like we are just "shooting" into the night sky in no specific direction in the hopes of bringing down one of those tasty birds we KNOW must be up there flying around even without (as of yet) knowing if they exist up there. I guess its just being hopeful in the end.

So back to the OP question - I'm not so interested in where to look but how we look for these other entities that MUST be out there somewhere. Yes, I do believe we are not the only "thinking" creatures in the Galaxy but where should we search for them? SETI has come up with nothing so far :think: So I'm confident that someone out there with an astronomical background will come up with a new idea...eventually.

R.A.F.
2014-Mar-04, 06:00 PM
Why did they bother in the first place? Is it just a massive EGO trip?

This question has been answered numerous times.

Colin Robinson
2014-Mar-05, 02:28 AM
So with all the problems facing these spacecrafts - distances to nearest stars, speed of the spacecrafts, not to mention how will "they" detect, never mind actually recover these objects - Why did they bother in the first place? Is it just a massive EGO trip?

Or, an act of collective self-expression.

Perhaps it is comparable to the flag and the plaque put on the moon by the Apollo 11 mission.


So far, only one answer to the thread question :clap: Seems like we are just "shooting" into the night sky in no specific direction in the hopes of bringing down one of those tasty birds we KNOW must be up there flying around even without (as of yet) knowing if they exist up there. I guess its just being hopeful in the end.

So back to the OP question - I'm not so interested in where to look but how we look for these other entities that MUST be out there somewhere. Yes, I do believe we are not the only "thinking" creatures in the Galaxy but where should we search for them? SETI has come up with nothing so far :think: So I'm confident that someone out there with an astronomical background will come up with a new idea...eventually.

Right now, I think a direct search for thinking creatures is less likely to succeed that a search for living things in general, including microbial life. There are several places in this solar system (e.g. Europa, Enceladus, Titan) which could support living things with chemistries similar to those on Earth, or with more exotic biochemistries. Study of these comparatively nearby worlds will provide clues which can then help us develop and test theories about life (intelligent or otherwise) in the rest of the Galaxy.

Van Rijn
2014-Mar-05, 02:51 AM
So with all the problems facing these spacecrafts - distances to nearest stars, speed of the spacecrafts, not to mention how will "they" detect, never mind actually recover these objects - Why did they bother in the first place? Is it just a massive EGO trip?


Are you asking why they built the spacecraft? The primary mission - what they were built to do - was to explore Jupiter and Saturn and their satellites. They would have been considered successful if they never did anything beyond Saturn, but Voyager 2 went on to explore the Uranus and Neptune systems as well. The information they returned was HUGE. The rewrote the science books with each encounter. Much of our information today about the Uranus and Neptune systems came from Voyager 2. The fact that they've managed to still return useful information and continued to function this long just emphasizes how well these spacecraft were built, and how much thought went into mission planning.

If you're asking about the golden records, though, why not have them there?

Noclevername
2014-Mar-05, 03:43 AM
I would like to send them back to touring the planets, this time with modern instrumentation.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-05, 05:52 PM
Are you asking why they built the spacecraft? The primary mission - what they were built to do - was to explore Jupiter and Saturn and their satellites. They would have been considered successful if they never did anything beyond Saturn, but Voyager 2 went on to explore the Uranus and Neptune systems as well. The information they returned was HUGE. The rewrote the science books with each encounter. Much of our information today about the Uranus and Neptune systems came from Voyager 2. The fact that they've managed to still return useful information and continued to function this long just emphasizes how well these spacecraft were built, and how much thought went into mission planning.

If you're asking about the golden records, though, why not have them there?

Of coarse not. They proved very valuable in researching the origins and mechanics of the Solar System and if successful (did not crash or malfunction), they would end up leaving the Solar System and (unless I'm wrong) possibly encounter other lifeforms (the plaque/record), which chances have to be so infinitely small that the idea may be only a wishful idea. And to make things worse, by the time these craft reach any "populated" areas, civilization as we know it today on this planet may be non-existant tens of thousands of years from now.

So back to the OP question, where would we try to send these craft (and near future ones)? Do we know enough about this area of our galaxy to choose one even if its possible to aim them there? And where would that "location" be?

Hornblower
2014-Mar-05, 07:02 PM
I recently heard on a "science" talk show broadcast over the radio that the Voyager (which one?) was heading for the globular M13 in Hercules. Does anyone know what target was chosen, if any? If none were chosen, why the gold plaque with the message?

So first, IS there a target area chosen for the two Voyagers and second, where would you send them to increase the chances of intercepting other life forms capable of understanding the message plaque(s)?
To maximize the chance of an encounter I would try to keep it near the plane of the galactic equator, but only if I could do so without messing up the visits to the planets. The chance of any noteworthy encounter probably is vanishingly small, but I believe we sent the plaques and recordings as a public relations gesture. It gives the people of Planet Earth a sense of being a part of the mission.

Swift
2014-Mar-05, 07:36 PM
So back to the OP question, where would we try to send these craft (and near future ones)? Do we know enough about this area of our galaxy to choose one even if its possible to aim them there? And where would that "location" be?
To your question I have a question in response - what is the purpose of sending these crafts, because it effects my answer as to where to send them.

Are you sending them just to send a message / record / plaque - "Look, humans over here"? In that case, you don't need to send a working spacecraft, you can just send a very small, inert object with your message. The advantage there is that you don't have to have technology advanced enough to work for the entire journey, and you get a small object to a higher speed, and thus aim for more distant destinations.

If you expect to do some science with this craft, which is significantly beyond our current technologies - the only possible hope is to send it to one of the closest stars.


The chance of any noteworthy encounter probably is vanishingly small, but I believe we sent the plaques and recordings as a public relations gesture. It gives the people of Planet Earth a sense of being a part of the mission.
I think that's the reason the records/plaques were put on these spacecraft, in which case it doesn't really matter where you aim them, beyond the marketing appeal.

eburacum45
2014-Mar-05, 10:51 PM
So back to the OP question, where would we try to send these craft (and near future ones)? Do we know enough about this area of our galaxy to choose one even if its possible to aim them there? And where would that "location" be?
It should be obvious that these craft and any other near future probes would not reach any star for many thousands of years. What is more interesting is to consider medium future probes, ones that we might send in a hundred years or so, which would have a realistic prospect of returning information on the local stellar neighbourhood. What would be the best targets for these medium term probes? The first target would probably be the closest: Alpha Centauri, a system with two very Sun-like stars.

Beyond that we might want to concentrate on Tarter and Turnbull's Habcat candidates; see the links on this Wiki page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalog_of_Nearby_Habitable_Systems
although there is a very real chance that current ideas of habitability are either far too optimistic or far too pessimistic.

Maggnum
2014-Mar-05, 11:01 PM
will also note that I've edited the thread title to better match this

Grumble grumble no wonder I couldn't find it! :rofl:

Mr Q
2014-Mar-06, 03:47 PM
To your question I have a question in response - what is the purpose of sending these crafts, because it effects my answer as to where to send them.

Are you sending them just to send a message / record / plaque - "Look, humans over here"? In that case, you don't need to send a working spacecraft, you can just send a very small, inert object with your message. The advantage there is that you don't have to have technology advanced enough to work for the entire journey, and you get a small object to a higher speed, and thus aim for more distant destinations.

If you expect to do some science with this craft, which is significantly beyond our current technologies - the only possible hope is to send it to one of the closest stars.


I think that's the reason the records/plaques were put on these spacecraft, in which case it doesn't really matter where you aim them, beyond the marketing appeal.

I assume the purpose would be to contact other thinking beings and maybe get a response. Since the distances are so great and the time needed for response, I would think these craft would be of a "one way" type.

True, a message on a non-working scientific craft would be cheaper to send, so many (?) others could be sent for the cost of one Voyager.

As for the messages on the Voyagers, I would think that once their missions were complete, the craft would leave the Solar System and IF able to be intercepted by other thinking beings, they would then know that they are not alone in the universe.

Swift
2014-Mar-06, 04:02 PM
Frankly, spending any money on sending any spacecraft so as to contact other intelligent beings is, in my opinion, a complete waste of money, as the odds of success are incredibly low and the time scales are incredibly long.

It would make a lot more sense to use one of the big radio telescopes, for example, to beam signals at near-by star systems, say within 20 LYs. Your odds of success are still incredibly low, but at least the results might only take decades, instead of 10s of thousands of years.

Mr Q
2014-Mar-06, 05:09 PM
Frankly, spending any money on sending any spacecraft so as to contact other intelligent beings is, in my opinion, a complete waste of money, as the odds of success are incredibly low and the time scales are incredibly long.

It would make a lot more sense to use one of the big radio telescopes, for example, to beam signals at near-by star systems, say within 20 LYs. Your odds of success are still incredibly low, but at least the results might only take decades, instead of 10s of thousands of years.

I was waiting for such a reply! My feelings also. At present, the cheapest and fastest way to seek out others is via radio, which I was planning to start another thread in this forum.

publiusr
2014-Mar-08, 08:07 PM
What would be the best targets for these medium term probes?

I might want to target Gilese 710, just to get a better idea where it is going exactly.

Farther down the road, 47 Ursae Majoris

litespeed
2014-Mar-13, 07:48 PM
No further than this solar system....Titan perhaps ?

Mr Q
2014-Mar-14, 06:21 PM
No further than this solar system....Titan perhaps ?

Should I assume you are thinking of microbial life? In my OP question, I was referring to intelligent life - some being to communicate with. Or are you saying we should not look farther than that for some reason?

litespeed
2014-Mar-15, 08:28 PM
Should I assume you are thinking of microbial life? In my OP question, I was referring to intelligent life - some being to communicate with. Or are you saying we should not look farther than that for some reason?


Humans have remnants of gills in their throat/jaw area. Why couldn't intelligent fish like creatures communicate ?

mikeEZfoSheezy
2014-Mar-16, 12:15 PM
I might want to target Gilese 710, just to get a better idea where it is going exactly.

Farther down the road, 47 Ursae Majoris

Isn't gliese 710 on a course headed towards our solar system and or Orrt cloud?


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Mr Q
2014-Mar-17, 03:21 PM
Humans have remnants of gills in their throat/jaw area. Why couldn't intelligent fish like creatures communicate ?

I know the ones here on Earth are not that smart - while fishing, I lost a lure after snagging a good sized freshwater fish and a short time later hooked it again and ended up getting my original lure back - now that was a dumb fish :rofl:

On a more serious note, Yea, anything is possible since we haven't been able to study any lifeforms in our Solar System besides those on the Earth and even here we have barely scratched the surface in knowing what lurks way down deep.

Hornblower
2014-Mar-17, 03:53 PM
I might want to target Gilese 710, just to get a better idea where it is going exactly.

Farther down the road, 47 Ursae Majoris
If we do not get a better idea of where Gilese 710 is going exactly, I don't see how we could get a probe close enough to it to tell us anything we cannot already find with astrometric methods.