Random Weirdness In The Interstellar Void

The Voyager 1 probe, like the crew of the starship Enterprise, has literally gone where no one–or at least no person or machine associated with the planet Earth–has gone before. It is 14.5 billion miles from its home planet, which it left in 1977. Voyager 1 has traveled beyond the orbit of Pluto and is now out in interstellar space. It is so far away that it takes two full days for a message sent by the spacecraft to reach NASA on Earth.

Apparently, things are weird out in the interstellar void, because Voyager 1 has started behaving . . . strangely.

Voyager 1 still receives and executes commands from Earth, and transmits data back to NASA. That means the probe’s attitude articulation and control system is working and keeping its antenna pointed precisely at Earth. But the problem is that the telemetry data that the spacecraft is beaming back home doesn’t make any sense, or reflect what Voyager 1 is supposed to be actually doing. NASA engineers described the data being received as “random or impossible.”

What’s up with Voyager 1? NASA’s project manager for the probe notes that it is 45 years old, which is far beyond its anticipated lifespan, and the interstellar space that Voyager 1 is now traveling through is high radiation territory, which could be messing with the probe’s systems. So maybe Voyager‘s random or impossible data transmissions are just a glitch from an aging machine. But isn’t it curious that Voyager‘s issues came to light at the same time Congress was holding its first, highly publicized hearings into UFOs in decades?

Perhaps it is just a coincidence. But anyone who remembers the plot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture will feel a little unsettled when they hear that V’ger is behaving . . . strangely.

Friend Of Old Flowers

We had some friends over last Saturday night for a raucous evening. Kish bought some flower arrangements for the occasion. Last Sunday, I moved the flowers from the dining room table to the kitchen island, just above the sink, so I can enjoy their pretty colors from my seat at the island, which is my home workspace.

As the days have passed, however, some of the flowers have sadly started to droop and lose their petals, as shown in the photo above. Other flowers, however, seem to be hardier and were still hanging in there. So this morning I decided to conduct some triage on the floral arrangements by carefully removing some of the wilted and dead plants, repositioning others, and emptying their vases of the old water and refilling them with fresh, cool water. The result are shown below.

I’m not sure this will work, but I’m hoping to get a few more days of enjoyment from the flowers before they go into the wastebasket. If that happens, the investment of time in helping some old flowers display their colors for just a short while longer will be worth it.