The little gizmo that could


(Photo animation: NASA)

Voyager is gone.

With little fanfare, only a press release from the American Geophysical Union, Voyager 1 has left the solar system.

The next stop in whatever is out there is a star called AC +793888, but you won’t know when it pulls within two light years of it. Neither will your kids, grandchildren, great grandchildren or anyone else who might have known you existed because that will be tens of thousands of years from now.

Which is pretty remarkable when you think that even though the planet may not still be here (or at least the people on it ), this thing that we built might still be whizzing along out there. And even more remarkable that we built in the 1970s, a decade known for cheap junk that didn’t work long.

If intelligent life ever finds it, they’ll also find an audio disk on it carrying photos of earth, some scientific information, greetings from presidents and people who are now dead and a medley of music including whales, Mozart, Blind Willie Johnson, Louis Armstrong and Chuck Berry — artists who might be a mystery to many of the people on the planet now.