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Title text: Also, they're getting increasingly worried that someone will accidentally hit the 'retract' button, and that the end of the cable thrashing around as it winds up could devastate the Earth's surface.
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a WIRE CUT BECAUSE OF BUDG- are you there houston? it's me v----ger, you'll never guess what I found! Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
This comic claims that the Voyager probes communicate with NASA though ridiculously long copper wires, when in reality they use radio waves. These wires would have to be continuously lengthened as the probes travel away from Earth. Supposedly, because of "high copper prices and budget constraints," they may not be able to afford to lengthen the wires much longer. If this occurred, they would have to either cut the wires or let them break, which would prevent any further communication with the probes. As mentioned earlier, however, they actually use radio waves, not long copper wires, so this will not actually happen.
If copper wires were dragged by the Voyager probes, 550 tons of copper would be needed per hour if the cable was 1mm² thick and it would add 1 million Ohm per hour to the cable resistance. At $8,560/ton, this would be $41 billion dollars/year, nearly twice NASA's entire annual budget.
The resulting wire would slow down the probes by drag, but be perfect space elevators for lightweight spacecraft.
Of course, since the Earth spins, the wires would also spool around the Earth, slowing the probes down even further. Clearly, this is not a good idea. This problem might be avoided if the wires reach earth at one of the poles. Or perhaps they go to an airplane that flies around earth at exactly 15 degrees of longitude per hour, with periodic air-to-air refueling, so that it is always on the side of the earth facing the probe.
Because the Voyager probes aren't in the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun, the Earth will not, in its rotation around the sun, drag these copper wires through the sun. If it did, the wires would melt. 
The consequence of a cable between a craft in space and a planetary location being suddenly retracted was recently demonstrated in the first episode of the Apple TV+ series Foundation, wherein a space elevator tether was severed. It didn't end well for anyone other than the terrorists who won the freedom of thousands of inhabited worlds which had formerly suffered under the jackbooted oppression of Trantor's fascist galactic Empire regime.
A few days before this comic was released, NASA had reported receiving corrupted position data from the Voyager 1 probe.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[There is an image of a space probe, presumably one of NASA's Voyager probes, with a long wire connecting it to the earth. To the left, there is a second wire, which goes offscreen. Below, there is a caption.]
- [Caption below the panel]:
- Sad news: Due to high copper prices and budget constraints, NASA may finally have to cut the wires that they've been spooling out to communicate with Voyager 1 and 2.
Don't be a jerk.
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