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8-track to the Cosmos

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  • 8-track to the Cosmos

    In addition to music, I have always been interested in the space program. This started when I was just a kid watching the Gemini and Apollo rocket launches on TV. I still build model rockets and read articles on various space projects. Just read an article today on the instruments that are still functioning on the Voyager probes. They were launched in 1977 and toured the outer planets and eventually exited the solar system. The last paragraph at the bottom of the article is what caught my attention:
    Although technology on Earth has advanced dramatically since the Voyagers were launched, the two spacecraft are frozen, technologically speaking: They were sent on their missions with the best equipment available at the time (including an 8-track tape recorder for data storage, believe it or not) and they have stood the test of time. While time moves forward here on Earth, aboard the Voyager spacecraft it is always 1977.

    Yep, we sent an 8-track into space in 1977 and it was some of the best tech at the time!

    The full article makes for interesting reading
    http://www.astronomy.com/news/2018/0...l-going-strong

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  • #2
    Please tell me it's a reel type multi track...
    Originally posted by Unconfigured Static HTML Widget...








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    • #3
      And it switches tracks in the middle of a song?


      (Sorry, I couldn't resist)
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      • #4
        Obviously not your old Muntz car stereo 8 tracks. I would imagine there are actually 9 parallel tracks. That's 1 track for each of the 8 bits that make up a byte of data, plus a parity bit for error detection.

        At least when the aliens that Stephen Hawking was afraid would invade us inspect Voyager, they won't realize how advanced we'll be when they get here


        Last edited by Jeff Leites; 07-19-2018, 02:04 PM. Reason: Changed "parody" to "parity". I'm the king of misspelling!
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        • Ticdoulouroux
          Ticdoulouroux commented
          Editing a comment
          You probably meant a "parity" bit, not parody bit. The former is for data transmission, the latter for SNL.

      • #5
        Data recorders are different from music recorders. A recorder like what's on the Voyager is really like a large buffer. It stores data until it's time for a radio transmission back to earth, then it overwrites with new data. In 1977, the data was almost certainly digital, converted on board from analog sensors.
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        • #6
          Wow, really cool man, 1977. I was out behind the high school smoking pot with the other stoners. Fortunately we had Pink Floyd's Animals on cassette by then!
          Last edited by ggm1960; 07-06-2018, 06:23 AM.
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          • #7
            I'm sure it was data, and I was kidding about the changing tracks in the middle of the tune.

            I never bought an 8 track, and the extent of my cassettes were recordings of my own LPs to be put in the care and eventually fed to the car's cassette player

            I remember ADATs in recording studios, state of the art at that time. I never used one but I watched the guy on the other side of the glass play with them.

            Magnetic memory was great until Flash got invented. If they sent one up today, the gear would be smaller, lighter, and more reliable.

            When I was a small child, the rockets used to blast off from Cape Caneveral and come right back down with a crash. We've come a long way since then. I'm lucky to be alive in these times.

            Insights and incites by Notes
            Bob "Notes" Norton
            Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
            Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
            The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Jeff Leites View Post
              Obviously not your old Muntz car stereo 8 tracks. I would imagine there are actually 9 parallel tracks. That's 1 track for each of the 8 bits that make up a byte of data, plus a parody bit for error detection.

              At least when the aliens that Stephen Hawking was afraid would invade us inspect Voyager, they won't realize how advanced we'll be when they get here
              I think you meant parity.
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