Friday August 25th

Voyager event and Beer!

  • Spent last night at this cool event on 40 years of Voyager!

  • It was wonderful!

  • They showed us photos of Ed Stone’s notebooks, in which he took his first notes for what they needed for Voyager 1!

  • It was heavy on the data analysis, which was heaven for me. It was also highly interesting and I learned quite a bit about Voyager. My mentor worked on Voyager.

  • I didn’t know that AU was astronomical units.

  • Voyager is also losing about 4 watts of power per year.

Things that I found really interesting!

  • Voyager trajectory was based on an alignment that only occurs every 176 years.

  • The Yarkovsky Effect.

  • Retrograde vs prograde

  • Voyager was originally called MJS; Mariner Jupter Saturn.

  • Io as a moon looks quite different from our own Moon!

  • Didn’t know much about Miranda before.

  • The Solar cycle is every 11 years; the poles of the Sun change then, so the poles point North again (do a 360) in 22 years or so.

  • The Poles of Neptune and Uranus are fascinating! It is influenced by their axial tilt. There is still a lot debate of which way is North.

  • There is a boundary of interstellar space that the scientists had to listen out for, called the Heliopause; the boundary where the Solar System ends. There was some debate over when this was reached, or if it has been reached. See Voyager Captures Sounds of Interstellar Plasma in Space. By measuring cosmic rays, the team was able to make this determination.

  • The concept of Solar gravitational deflection that protects planets in that bubble from direct interaction with comets, etc.

  • Here is a lecture courtesy NASA entitled Voyager 1 is in Interstellar Space.

Other concepts

  • Uranus has a lambda-ring! It’s faint and dusty, and was discovered by Voyager 2.

  • That being said, it has nothing to do with Lambda-rings, which has to do with topology / Grothendieck…or does it :)

  • Shapiro’s Delay

They also gave out some commemorative pins!

  • It says “Voyager…40 Years..1977 to 2017”, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory!

  • Unexpected, and pretty neat. Also post-cards and bookmarks.

  • I’m probably going to give mine to my mom, since my dad is in Barbados until December, so it would be a surprise to her if she got a Postcard in between that time :)

We went out for drinks!

  • My mentor, his brother (who also used to work at JPL), and two other persons, (one of whom was the Project Manager for Voyager; John Casani) went out for drinks at the favourite British pub of JPL-ers.

  • It was really fun! John told us that when he went to UPenn as a student, one of his summer projects included disassembling the ENIAC.

  • He admitted he hadn’t been to the Computer History Museum, so we insisted that he not only visit, but also told him about the Babbage Machine!


  • I got home at 11pm, but was it was so worth it!

Things to complete this weekend

  • Programme for Nanodegree project (Sunday)
  • Application (Sunday)
  • Mathematica work (Friday to next Friday)

  • I also was able to book my trip to San Jose for this Data Science workshop, so that’s all set for October!
Written on August 25, 2017