There are two versions of each lab, one with a ten-question conclusion and one with directions for a full lab report. This way the teacher has the option! Each lab is two pages to allow for one two-sided handout.
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*Some of you have already purchased my lab book – be sure to check out Page 141 !
“NASA's Voyager 2 probe, launched in 1977, is now more than 11 billion miles from Earth and has reached interstellar space, the agency said Monday [12/10/18]. This is the second time a human-made object has reached this part of space. And it's an incredible feat for a spacecraft designed to last five years.”
“Launched just 16 days apart, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were designed to take advantage of a rare alignment of the outer planets that only occurs once every 176 years. Their trajectory took them by the outer planets, where they captured never-before-seen images. They were also able to steal a little momentum from Jupiter and Saturn that helped send them on a path toward interstellar space. This 'gravity assist' gave the spacecraft a velocity boost without expending any fuel. Though both spacecraft were destined for interstellar space, they followed slightly different trajectories.
Voyager 1 followed a path that enabled it to fly by Jupiter in 1979, discovering the gas giant’s rings. It continued on for a 1980 close encounter with Saturn’s moon Titan before a gravity assist from Saturn hurled it above the plane of the solar system and out toward interstellar space. After Voyager 2 visited Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1981, it continued on to encounter Uranus in 1986, where it obtained another assist. Its last planetary visit before heading out of the solar system was Neptune in 1989, where the gas giant’s gravity sent the probe in a southward direction toward interstellar space. Since the end of its prime mission at Neptune, Voyager 2 has been using its onboard instruments to continue sensing the environment around it, communicating data back to scientists on Earth. It was this data that scientists used to determine Voyager 2 had entered interstellar space.”
“After Voyager 2's flyby of Neptune, NASA formally renamed the entire project (including both Voyager spacecraft) the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM). Some year before 2030, Voyager 2 is expected to cross the heliopause-the outer boundary of the vast region of space dominated by the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field-and reach interstellar space. In that sense, it can be said that the spacecraft will be able to sample what space is like beyond our solar system. (If we define the solar system as the Sun and everything that primarily orbits the Sun, however, Voyager 2 will remain will emerge from the Oort cloud in another 14,000 to 28,000 years.
As the spacecraft's power supply dwindles, it will need to begin shutting down its instruments. Sometime in 2025 or after, there will be insufficient electricity to power even one instrument, and Voyager 2 will continue its eternal journey among the stars in silence.
Aug. 20 1977: Launch
July 9, 1979: Jupiter Flyby (Closest Approach)
Aug. 26, 1981: Saturn Flyby (Closest Approach)
Jan. 24, 1986: Uranus Flyby (Closest Approach)
Aug. 25, 1989: Neptune Flyby (Closest Approach)”
“Scientists have been watching for Voyager 2's grand departure since late August, when data beamed back by the probe suggested it was nearing what scientists call the heliopause, a bubble created by the solar wind of charged particles flowing out from our sun and influencing the environment within our solar system. Scientists use the heliopause to mark where interstellar space begins, although depending on how you define our solar system it can stretch all the way to the Oort Cloud, which begins 1,000 times farther away from the sun than Earth's orbit.
Beyond that bubble, spacecraft fly through many more cosmic rays — much higher-energy particles — than the lower-energy particles of our own neighborhood. Two instruments onboard the Voyager 2 probe track these particles as they collide with the spacecraft. The transition from mostly lower-energy particles to nearly none of these and a sudden surge of cosmic rays tells scientists the probe has crossed the heliopause.”
Here is a 3 minute youtube clip that summarizes this event:
“The most compelling evidence of Voyager 2’s exit from the heliosphere came from its onboard Plasma Science Experiment (PLS).
Until recently, the space surrounding Voyager 2 was filled predominantly with plasma flowing out from our Sun — the so-called solar wind.
The PLS uses the electrical current of the plasma to detect the speed, density, temperature, pressure and flux of the solar wind.
The instrument observed a steep decline in the speed of the solar wind particles on November 5 [,2018].
Since that date, it has observed no solar wind flow in the environment around Voyager 2, which makes mission scientists confident the probe has left the heliosphere.
In addition to the plasma data, members of the Voyager science team have seen evidence from three other onboard instruments — the cosmic ray subsystem, the low energy charged particle instrument and the magnetometer — that is consistent with the conclusion that the spacecraft has crossed the heliopause.
‘There is still a lot to learn about the region of interstellar space immediately beyond the heliopause,’ said Voyager project scientist Dr. Ed Stone, a researcher at Caltech.
Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Earth.
The mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters the new phase of its journey, but information — moving at the speed of light — takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth.”
“Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Earth. Mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but information – moving at the speed of light – takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. By comparison, light traveling from the sun takes about eight minutes to reach Earth.Together, the two Voyagers provide a detailed glimpse of how our heliosphere interacts with the constant interstellar wind flowing from beyond.
While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the sun’s gravity. The width of the Oort Cloud is not known precisely, but it is estimated to begin at about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the sun and to extend to about 100,000 AU (1 AU is the distance from the sun to Earth). It will take about 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly 30,000 years to fly beyond it.
Voyager 2 launched in 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1, and both have traveled well beyond their original destinations. The spacecraft were built to last five years and conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn. However, as the mission continued, additional flybys of the two outermost giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, proved possible. As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to give the Voyagers greater capabilities than they possessed when they left Earth. Their two-planet mission became a four-planet mission. Their five-year lifespans have stretched to 41 years, making Voyager 2 NASA’s longest running mission.
“Voyager 2 launched in 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1, and both have traveled well beyond their original destinations. The spacecraft were built to last five years and conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn. However, as the mission continued, additional flybys of the two outermost giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, proved possible. As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to endow the Voyagers with greater capabilities than they possessed when they left Earth. Their two-planet mission became a four-planet mission. Their five-year lifespans have stretched to 41 years, making Voyager 2 NASA's longest running mission.
The Voyager story has impacted not only generations of current and future scientists and engineers, but also Earth's culture, including film, art and music. Each spacecraft carries a Golden Record of Earth sounds, pictures and messages. Since the spacecraft could last billions of years, these circular time capsules could one day be the only traces of human civilization.”
“To boldly go where only one other human-made object has gone before.”
Makes me wonder what Voyager 2 will find!
*This Blog contains several entries that would be helpful to your chemistry classroom. Check out the Topic List to help you to find past Blog entries.
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Remember, buying a copy of the lab book Chemistry on a Budget can be very useful to your Chemistry classroom with labs and class article ideas.
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