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We know that the Mormons intend to take the Nauvoo to another star, so at least the idea of interstellar travel was in the books. I'm wondering if there are any references to interstellar probes actually sending data back from another star system in the books or stories. The key is that I'm interested in missions before the gates opened, since I know that at that point interstellar probes and more are a reality.

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There were no Earth-sent interstellar probes prior to the gates opening ever mentioned. The books and TV series were pretty consistently predicated on hard science (other than the Epstein Drive and the advanced alien tech). The Nauvoo, even with Epstein Drive, was going to take hundreds of years to reach its destination star. They were 'going on faith'.

since I know that at that point interstellar probes and more are a reality

No, I do not believe Earth based interstellar probes were an in-universe reality.

Semantics of "interstellar" come into play here. Do we count simply beyond the bubble of our sun's heliosphere or do we count something only when it is a meaningful distance nearer to a star not our sun. A few months ago I made some simple calculations about Voyager distance beyond heliosphere into "interstellar space" relative to the distance to Proxima Centauri. In a comparison to a coast to coast trip across North America, Voyagers are about 1/2 a block from front doorstep.

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    @Lexible well, OK... if you perhaps include sending probes into the vast interstellar void. However- actually getting to another star and sending back information to Earth... NO.
    – BradV
    Mar 28 at 16:52
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    @Lexible hmmmm. It is quite literally in the OP question. "I'm wondering if there are any references to interstellar probes actually sending data back from another star system in the books or stories."
    – BradV
    Mar 28 at 18:22
  • +1 Whoops! Don't know how I blipped over that! :) Carry on!
    – Lexible
    Mar 28 at 20:01
  • Correct I meant a probe actually arriving at another star system. Also for the "at that point" I meant "once the gates opened". We have lots of discussion about probes being sent through the gates in the last three books but I was interested in the pre-gate timeline Mar 30 at 13:50

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