Voyager 1, NASA’s 1977 iPod, turns 35

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 is among the sounds aboard Voyager 1. Disco was not allowed.

(Credit:
NASA)

For a mobile music player that’s 100,000 times less powerful than a crummy 8GB iPod Nano, Voyager 1 is mighty awesome.

The NASA space probe was launched 35 years ago today, on September 5, 1977, three months after a new space opera called “Star Wars” hit theaters. Programmed to explore the outer planets, it has traveled farther than any man-made object since then, and is leaving our solar system for interstellar space.

With its 68-kilobyte computer memory and 8-track tape recorder, Voyager is bringing old-timey tech to the stars. It’s currently some 11.3 billion miles from the sun in the heliosheath, the region where the solar wind slows down as it hits gas and dust outside our solar system.

It’s unknown when the probe will actually exit our system for the interstellar medium. It could take weeks, months, or years.

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