Voyager 2 Finds Wall Of Fire And Enters Interstellar Space!

Discover the Voyager Probes and their groundbreaking findings in deep space.

Video of the day November 23rd 2019

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What Are The Voyager Probes?

Considering that we’re talking about how the Voyager Space Probes were the ones that discovered this “wall of fire” in deep space, it would probably be nice to know what they are, right?

Voyager 1 is a probe that humanity sent out to observe the universe at large, and it’s currently well past Pluto and has shown us many things about our solar system. In 2017, it was set at around 138 AU’s from our planet. AU means “Astronomical Unit“, which in this case means the distance from the Earth to the Sun. So 138 AU’s means that it’s 138 times far than the Earth is from the sun right now. That’s a really big number. Over 12 billion miles to be exact. That’s the farthest anything from man has traveled in space.

One of its crowning achievements was a photograph showing a set of sunbeams, and in one of those sunbeams was earth. It was a dot. A dot in a grander scale photograph of our solar system. That’s how small we are in the scale of our system when you look from the outside in, we are a dot. An epic dot, but a dot no doubt.

But what might shock you even more is that despite the distance that Voyager 1 has traveled, it’ll never reach the end of our solar system. Our solar system is confined within what is known as the Oort Cloud. And to reach the edge of that cloud would take another 30,000 years for the Voyager 1. Which should show just how big our solar system is, and how condensed the space the planets that are in it is.

As for Voyager 2, despite it launching BEFORE Voyager 1 (by 16 days), it was set on a similar mission to explore the solar system. Albeit via a different route that took it past Neptune and Uranus. The point here is that these two probes are the farthest things that humanity has sent into the solar system. They have traveled incredible distances and are still revealing things about our solar system that continue to both boggle the mind and astound us.

Which of course brings us to that “wall of fire” I was mentioning earlier…

The Wall Of Fire

While it’s true that the Voyager Probes haven’t left the solar system as of yet, that doesn’t mean they haven’t gone far. They are in a place now that is defined as “Interstellar Space”, though that classification can mean many different things. In the context of this video though they’re past the Heliosphere. That is where solar winds emitted from our sun still blow things outwards. So in many ways, the probes are away from the reach of the sun.

But, what Voyager 2 (backed up by data from Voyager 1) has found is that once they’re outside that reach, the plasma that is out in space doesn’t go down, it actually goes up in density by a large margin!

“The marked increase in plasma density is evidence of Voyager 2 journeying from the hot, lower-density plasma characteristic of the solar wind to the cool, higher-density plasma of interstellar space. It’s also similar to the plasma density jump experienced by Voyager 1 when it crossed into interstellar space.”

And this is what is leading to the whole “Wall of Fire” thing, because this Wall of Fire is just outside the solar system according to the probes, and that is a problem in many, many ways.

“The Wall of Fire outside the Solar System is caused by electromagnetic (EM) radiation which is created by plasma and a local space environment full of raging magnetic fields.”

But, while this is terrifying, it proves that NASA was right to launch not one but two probes to go and explore the universe. Because for all we knew the Wall of Fire might have just been in one centralized location than a place basically filling up the boundaries of the outer solar system.

“The Voyager probes are showing us how our Sun interacts with the stuff that fills most of the space between stars in the Milky Way galaxy,” said Ed Stone, project scientist for Voyager and a professor of physics at Caltech. “Without this new data from Voyager 2, we wouldn’t know if what we were seeing with Voyager 1 was characteristic of the entire heliosphere or specific just to the location and time when it crossed.”

The Problem With Plasma

Plasma, if you didn’t know, is the fourth state of matter, and it was always known, or at least believed, that there was some outside the Heliosphere, as between the suns’ emissions and the rest of the universe pouring things into deep space, it was basically pretty natural for it to be there. And when Voyager 1 first reached the point of Interstellar Space, it noticed some slightly higher levels of plasma, but it was Voyager 2 that showed that it was MUCH bigger than anticipated.

Plasma is very hot, and while the “Wall of Fire” is said to be somewhat colder than the sun’s plasma it’s dispersing regularly, it’s still hot enough to mess with people and objects, which we’ll be talking about later. But more importantly than that is that it’s thick. This is well and truly a wall of fiery plasma. Which means that if we want to get through this, we have to be careful in a whole host of ways. But more than that, it means that if there is this one wall of fire plasma in the universe, there could be many more, and that opens up a whole new can of worms for what we might have to do to explore the universe, and just survive it in the most basic of senses.

Plus, we didn’t expect this to be in such concentrations in this part of space, which means we were wrong in pretty much all of our assumptions up to this point about what lies just outside of our solar system. What else are we wrong about? What else have we not been able to understand about what’s going on out there? Could we be missing something else? Lots of questions ladies and gentlemen.

Leaks?

As noted, there are many problems with this wall of fire, and one of them may just be how exactly this thing is forming. After all, scientists were a bit stunned by the density that the Wall of Fire exudes in Interstellar Space. But what might be even more surprising though is that Voyager 2 indicates that part of the reason the field of fire is so thick is that the Heliosphere has a leak in it.

This was discovered when the probe noticed that there were particles actually leaking out of the boundary of the Heliosphere, which shouldn’t happen because of gravity and solar winds. But, if it is happening in this area, it’s possible that it’s leaking the particles in other areas as well. The Voyager Probes are on different sides of the Heliosphere. One is near the “front” and the other is near the “side”, quite intentionally I might add.

So if the sun is unintentionally adding to this Wall of Fire, then that means that this field can grow every single day, and every single year and beyond. So who knows just how big this field could get? Potentially, it could get so big that it starts to affect the Heliosphere itself, we honestly don’t know at this point. Thus, while many scientists are thrilled at what’s going on right now with the Voyager 2’s information, that also means that we need to be prepared for what could happen with this wall of fire as time goes on.

Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Shields

The discovery of the Wall of Fire wasn’t the only thing that people at NASA were interested in when it was discovered. Instead, it was also the fact that there was new information given about the magnetic fields that were there in the outer reaches of interstellar space. You see, our solar system is held within a magnetic field that is comprised mostly of the suns’ field. Not unlike the orbits of the planets and such. Thus, when you get out of the reach of the sun via the Heliosphere, it goes to reason that the magnetic field would go off in a different direction entirely. In fact, that is what everyone at NASA thought before Voyager 1 & 2 proved them very, very wrong.

At first, Voyager 1 pointed out that there was some odd directions in the magnetic field of interstellar space. Then, when Voyager 2 arrived on the scene a few years later, its readings proved that the magnetic field of the area was actually parallel with the one of the Heliosphere. Which is confusing quite a bit of people.

Which brings us the need for EM shields. You see, the Heliosphere’s magnetic field protects the entire solar system, including Earth from cosmic radiation and storms and the like. And so between the Wall of Fire and the other magnetic fields out there, any ship we have that we send into the stars beyond our solar system is going to need a good Electromagnetic Shield itself to be its own protection so that radiation and other things don’t hurt the crew, the ship, and other vital things.

The Question Of Space Travel

Ok, so now let’s talk about one of the biggest problems with this Wall of Fire. Mainly…how are we going to get past it?

No, seriously, if we’re going to be talking about exploring the far reaches of space, that means that we will need to get past our own solar system, right? Now it’s true that at present we can’t say for certain that this Wall of Fire encircles the entire solar system, but it’s a safe bet, and what’s more, the probes were sent out in the direction of where we would likely travel if we wanted to get into deep space. So, thus, if we want to go see other planets that are out there, we need to get past the Wall of Fire. And that presents a couple major problems.

First and foremost, until we further examine the plasma, which Voyager 1 & 2 are doing but can’t fully do on their own due to distance and equipment, we won’t know the proper way to shield ourselves from its impact in the ways that matter. So at best, we’d be doing guesswork. Which is not something that inspires confidence when you’re trying to recruit people for a mission:

“Ok team, we’re going on a mission to head through the plasma field, we’ll probably going to be ok if the shields hold. So…who’s in?”

Yeah, I wouldn’t volunteer for that.

What’s more, the obvious answer of “go around the field” isn’t exactly plausible at present either. First and foremost, that could mean a very long detour, if we’re able to go above, below, or around it at all, we honestly don’t know just how massive this thing is because we can only see and understand what the Voyagers detect. So we obviously need more data before that option becomes viable.

Now yeah, we can create plasma very easily on Earth, we do it all the time, that’s how plasma torches and other items that have plasma in them exist. But this is on a scale we’re not used to. So we need to come up with ways to get through the field if we’re going to make it out there.

But that’s not the only problem that this Wall of Fire raises. You see, this is an obstacle that we have to avoid, it’s true, but what’s the next obstacle? And the one after that? And so on and so forth? The Voyagers will never make it out of the true solar system, so who knows what else is out there in deep space that we will have to try and get through?

Space is still a mystery to us, and if we’re not fully ready for what’s out there…it will kill us.

Space…The Final Frontier

There have been a lot of interesting things going on in space recently that have gotten the attention of NASA and other space agencies. This is just the latest in that string. But when you put that string together, you get a pattern, and that pattern clearly states, “We don’t know jack about the universe”.

Think about it, there is a literal wall of fire just outside the Heliosphere, and yet we haven’t been able to truly see it until 2019? We’ve found whole other galaxies, planets that may be like Earth, yet we can’t see something outside our own system? The universe is so fast that we need to keep exploring it, looking at it, and doing whatever it takes to learn as much as we can. Not just for knowledge sake, but for the sake of humanity in the future.

Our goal is still to try and explore the cosmos, and the more we know, the more we can prepare, the more we’ll truly be able to survive and enjoy the final frontier.

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