October 1, 2022

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NASA fixes issue with Voyager 1 sending telemetry data through malfunctioning computer – IT Pro – News

I’m a bit rusty with the numbers…so scraping amounts of paper…so with a small caveat;

Assuming 719 kg/17,000 m/s, it came to 103.9 gigajoules of kinetic energy for Voyager.
1 ton of TNT is equivalent to 4184 gigajoules of energy.

So Voyager One has a kinetic energy of just under 25 tons of TNT, not a gigaton. But nonetheless a good amount. Slightly more than Fat Man who was 21 tons of TNT.

But fortunately, the space is so empty that the chance of collision is very slim. And if it does, it’s so far away that we wouldn’t bother with it at all.

Take a sphere with a radius of 20 billion kilometers (roughly the distance from Voyager to Earth). That’s like 10^33 cubic metres. Assuming there are a few hundred thousand objects in the Kuiper belt of reasonable size, the probability of a traveler hitting something in the Kuiper belt is about 1 in 10^27 or so. And this is absolutely true, because the copper belt has already left travelers behind. I thought, ff do not see the account.

The Oort cloud is many times larger, assuming there can be a few trillion Oort objects (10^12)
So the probability that Voyager will encounter a segment with a diameter of 1 meter is like 1 in 10^25.
Or the probability of 0.000000000000000000000001.

So I don’t think a massive collision is going to happen, it’s likely a collision with tiny particles, because you can actually see that happening with the satellites. Although I should point out again that space within the solar system is probably a bit more crowded than interstellar space or the Oort cloud.

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We can also calculate what they could see/observe from Earth, if the massive collision happened. Not too complicated, take a spherical surface with a radius of 20 billion km. Divide the energy of the collision (above) by the number of square meters of the 20 billion km sphere and you will know how much energy you can collect with a square meter telescope/instrument, if the energy of the collision is electromagnetic radiation to radiate.

But here again, distances in space are highly improbable, this collision sort of disappears on the scale of the solar system.