“Saving” a great idea for another day, a better day when everything is perfect, is like saving food: the longer it sits in cold storage, the greater the chance it gets shoved to the back, forgotten, or freezer-burned by other priorities.
In September 1977, human beings reached for something that sounded impossible, without waiting for more money, more powerful technology, or more public support.
In that month the promise of human imagination was launched in the form of two sturdy probes, each weighing less than a dairy cow, called Voyager I and II.
It was the beginning of a larger sense of possibility for humanity, and here we are, 39 years later, still learning from Voyager’s communications from outside our solar system!
It was simply a great idea and a leap of faith.
We had gotten past the hubris of thinking only manned space exploration was important, and the tiny probes rocketed out of earth’s orbit into the vast blackness. They were on a path of no return and ultimate returns.
Their mission: to speak to us from parts unknown.
Here’s the extraordinary timeline:
Voyager I was announced to have left our solar system 2 years ago, continues to astound scientists, and is traveling at a speed of 11 miles per second; still streaming data back to us here on Earth.
I was recently reminded of the extraordinary nature of this achievement, and while I thought this topic would be better written about at a later date – “saved” in our pool of article drafts – I decided there’s no time like the present to recognize extraordinary expectations exceeded!
Without further ado, let’s get to a few reasons why the Voyager Mission, is such a good fit with our mission here at EverWideningCircles.com (demonstrating this is still an amazing world!)
Timing a great idea perfectly:
Now let’s make sure we understand the full weight of this achievement by putting the timing of Voyager’s launch into perspective.
Here’s where things stood at the time of Voyager‘s launch, 1977, when this whole project was the very definition of “rocket science.”
- In 1977, the first Apple II home computer went on sale and Steve Jobs’ closest advisors were still telling him that consumers would never want “personal computers” in their homes.
- A gallon of gas cost 65 cents
- A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home, with 2 car garage, in Middletown New York, cost $33,000. (The average New Home price was $49,000.)
- The first Star Wars movie opened in cinemas to 4 hour waiting lines, while the movies Rocky, and Saturday Night Fever also drew record crowds.
- NASA made the first free-flight test of a space shuttle, which then had to be released from the back of an airliner.
- In sadder news, The King, Elvis Presley, passed away of a heart attack at age 42. (In, well, weirder news, The King was reportedly seen dozens of times all over the planet thereafter.)
In any case, you get the picture: the most primordial stages of the internet would not exist for another decade, and yet we thought it was the right time to begin exploring the universe.
That kind of moxie and optimism always makes me sigh with a smile, shake my head, and say proudly, “Humans!”
If you are hungry for a little more detail, check out the Voyager website for more information and many more rich images and graphics. You can also keep up with the NASA blog here for even more in-depth information on a variety of space travel-related news.
Bonus: Here’s a video to fill in all the gaps that first short piece left out…
Lovely stuff to ponder before bed folks! I gotta hit the hay, but I know I’ll do some kind of “travel” in my dreams.
One more insight to leave you with:
Here at Ever Widening Circles, we give a lot of thought to the positive nature of the insights and questions we leave you within our once, daily articles.
When I founded this website I was looking for a place on the web with no agenda, and smart content without a barrage of advertising. After a few months of searching without success, I resolved to create it myself.
I wanted to finish every day with some positive insight so I could sleep well. I hope you visit EWC with the same expectations once in a while.
Did you know that while you sleep, your brain considers that the best time for problem-solving? There is good neuroscience to explain why we should finish the last hour of our day with something positive and thought provoking on our minds.
Here’s a short excerpt from an article in the New Yorker Magazine that demonstrates why we need to manage our last hour before going to bed with care:
In one experiment, the University of Tübingen neurobiologist Jan Born and Ullrich Wagner, a neuroscientist at the University of Münster, taught a group of people a relatively complex math task. Though the subjects didn’t know it, there was a simpler way of solving the problem—an abstract rule that would enable a quick solution. Few of the subjects spontaneously figured out the solution the first time. Each participant was retested on the task eight hours later; some were allowed to sleep and others had to remain awake. Just under a quarter of the group that took a sleepless break came up with the faster solution. But the insight rate more than doubled among the subjects who had spent the eight hours sleeping: sixty per cent of them could now see the shortcut. As we sleep, our brains replay, process, learn, and extract meaning. In a sense, they think. Source: New Yorker Magazine 3
I could use a 60% better chance of solving problems with shortcuts!
Have you tried visiting us here at EWC before bed for a few minutes?
In fact, I founded this website, in part, because I was unable to find a place on the web where I could spend a few minutes winding down before bed. Any of the stories in the following photo collage from some of our articles, might make for fantastic “problem-solving” dreams.
Scroll down to the very bottom of this page, or scroll to the bottom of our homepage to see a remarkable assortment of articles that prove this is still an amazing world.
Thanks for visiting the outer reaches with us. Stay open, curious and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
- Scishow. “3 Things You Didn’t Know About Voyager.” YouTube. YouTube, 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDSWGHDPhZY>. ↩
- SpaceRip. “Voyager Journey to the Stars.” YouTube. YouTube, 06 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 May 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seXbrauRTY4>. ↩
- Konnikova, Maria. “The Work We Do While We Sleep.” The New Yorker. N.p., 08 July 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2016. <http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/why-we-sleep>. ↩