This year sees Voyager, the intrepid space module sent to investigate the Solar System, touch the outer reaches of the stellar space in which we live. A chance eruption of energy from the Sun convinced most cosmologists watching Voyager's adventures that the module had stepped beyond the boundary of our Solar System into the galactic unknown beyond. Others are less convinced. Absence of a detectable change in magnetic field direction leaves them wondering whether Voyager has crossed the bridge.
Whatever the actual position of Voyager may be, it is certainly farther away from Earth than any exploratory device has ever been before. 12 billion miles is a long way to have travelled. In its wake, Voyager ll has covered just 9.5 billion miles, having nosed around the vicinity of Uranus and Neptune. Voyager l used Saturn's gravitational field as a catapult to sling it past Pluto ahead of its twin.
Plutonium powered it may be, but Voyager has determination on its side. 36 years have passed since it was built and sent off with a hearty slap into the outer regions of space. The technology it carries is relatively archaic. Yet it diligently sends back data, on a 17 hour time lag, to the team waiting here on Earth to receive its updates. Something tells me that something of the spirit of V'Ger abounds in this small-car-sized technological marvel. That it has learned what it is for, and wants to do its job to the very best of its ability. We know from our domestic appliances that some do a great job for decades, while some never seem to get the hang of what they're supposed to do at all. Even paint brushes have to learn the art of the craft they were intended for, before beginning to perform as they ought.
The more we learn of quantum reality, the more obvious it will become that mind and matter cannot be divorced from each other. Recent developments have encouraged scientists to throw away (if reluctantly) the well-worn and vastly out-of-date concept that everything has to conform to symmetrical boxes and flat constants. My belief is that Voyager wants to seek out those strange new worlds where no man has gone before, and that it will surprise the skeptics with incredible longevity in determinedly meeting the needs of its Creator, on a quest to discover what its Creator actually is.
Kathy Ratcliffe has studied quantum mechanics since 1997, leads a life surrounded by birds and animals, and is a stalwart fan of Stargate SG1.