Science Questions

What's the furthest man-made object out in space?

Sun, 20th Feb 2011

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Question

Mike, Colchester asked:

What is the furthest man-made item in space thatís still sending information back to Earth?

Answer

Dave -  The furthest one out there which overtook quite recently is Voyager 1.  This is sitting out at about 116 AUs, that's 116 times further out from the Sun than the Earth is.

Ben -   Because one 1 AU is the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Dave -   That's right.  So, itís about 17.2 billion kilometres.

Ben -   Right.

Dave -   Itís sitting out there.  Itís running out of power very slowly.  By about 2025, itís not going to have any power and the poor thing is going to die, but itís just been going through these heliopause I was talking about earlier in about the last year.  All the magnetic fields have started to change radically at the moment and itís still doing important science even after 25, 30 years.

 

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Can something travelling away from us at 17 kilometers per second be described is "sitting" ? RD, Mon, 28th Feb 2011

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