NASA Spacecraft Pick Up Faint Sound In Space
By John McSwiggan , May 13, 2021
On Monday, NASA announced that Voyager 1 detected a persistent “hum” in space.
After four decades of exploring the cosmos, the spacecraft was able to pick up a faint vibration. According to the journal of Natural Astronomy, the discovery provides valuable insight into what lies beyond our solar system.
Stella Ocker, the author of the recent study says that they are unable to determine where the faint hum is coming from. Ocker explains that the Voyager picks the vibrations through ripples of plasma in an interstellar medium.
Generally, the medium is composed of a mixture of particles, gas, and radiation.
The author also notes that “the persistent plasma waves that we’ve just discovered are far too weak to hear with the human ear.” She describes that the hum “would sound like a single steady note, playing constantly but changing very slightly over time”.
What Lies Beyond
Currently, the spacecraft travels outside of the region in space known as the heliopause. The author explains that it covers the area beyond the reach of the sun. Generally, the heliosphere serves as the “protective bubble” that covers the sun and its neighboring planets.
In 2012, Voyager 1 crossed the boundaries of our solar system. However, scientists were unable to pick up the faint signals until 2017. Experts are puzzled as to why they are unable to discover the vibrations sooner.
Voyager 1 Continues Its Travels
Scientists want to know whether the persistent sound will continue as the Voyager 1 digs deeper into space. Today, Voyager 1 continues to provide data after 44 years.
The spacecraft is 14.1 billion miles away from the earth. Throughout its journey, it continues to provide valuable insight to astronomers.
Unfortunately, James Cordes, one of the co-authors of the study, predicts that the power supply for Voyager 1 will eventually run out within this decade. However, Cordes notes that the future seems promising.