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After 35 Years of Travel, Voyager 1 Close to Interstellar Space

By - Source: NASA | B 51 comments
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NASA isn't just about search for traces of life these days.

There are countless other projects happening, such as the first man made space craft that will reach interstellar space, more than 10 billion miles from home.

NASA said that the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1977, has entered "a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space." The excitement around Voyager subsided in 1990 when it took a "family portrait" of our Solar System and in 1998, when it became Pioneer 10 as the most distant man-made object from Earth. Voyager 1 is estimated to have enough power to communicate with Earth until at least 2025, 48 years after its launch.

It was not until 2004 when Voyager 1 crossed into the heliosheath and interest in the spacecraft, which carries a famous golden record with stored photos of Earth, music samples, and spoken greetings, got traction again. NASA says Voyager 1 is now in a region referred to as "magnetic highway for charged particles".

"Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun's environment, we now can taste what it's like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway," said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn't what we expected, but we've come to expect the unexpected from Voyager."

Voyager 1 and its sister space craft Voyager 2 are not expected to reach the vicinity of another star within 40,000 years.

 

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  • 37 Hide
    rbj , December 6, 2012 12:39 PM
    What a fantastic human acheivement - and what a brilliant design to still be going strong - well done to all involved!
  • 34 Hide
    aznguy0028 , December 6, 2012 12:41 PM
    This is so freakin' awesome, considering it's still alive and kicking with technology made back in the 70's.
  • 33 Hide
    HenrikG , December 6, 2012 12:45 PM
    I couldn't agree more. Super interesting. I'm 32 and it blows my mind that this thing was launched three years before me. haha
Other Comments
  • 37 Hide
    rbj , December 6, 2012 12:39 PM
    What a fantastic human acheivement - and what a brilliant design to still be going strong - well done to all involved!
  • 34 Hide
    aznguy0028 , December 6, 2012 12:41 PM
    This is so freakin' awesome, considering it's still alive and kicking with technology made back in the 70's.
  • 33 Hide
    HenrikG , December 6, 2012 12:45 PM
    I couldn't agree more. Super interesting. I'm 32 and it blows my mind that this thing was launched three years before me. haha
  • 21 Hide
    drwho1 , December 6, 2012 12:57 PM
    "Voyager 1 and its sister space craft Voyager 2 are not expected to reach the vicinity of another star within 40,000 years."

    Just wake me up then....
    do NOT forget to wake me up!
    you hear me?
    /sarcasm

    On a more serious note, it is amazing that it is still working after so many years.
    Good job NASA!
  • 17 Hide
    greghome , December 6, 2012 1:02 PM
    Now, I'm just hoping they're able to get a solar sail probe to catch up and surpass both voyagers ;) 
  • 26 Hide
    cookoy , December 6, 2012 1:03 PM
    Most awesome. Just how it is able to communicate with earth and how earth is able to track such a small object that far away - those are unbelievable feats.
  • 5 Hide
    jabliese , December 6, 2012 1:25 PM
    Wonder how long it would take an ion propelled satellite to catch up?
  • -7 Hide
    win7guru , December 6, 2012 1:52 PM
    I bet this spacecraft was 100% american made. Sad they get parts from china now.
  • 10 Hide
    witcherx , December 6, 2012 1:54 PM
    where no man has gone before!
  • 20 Hide
    ddpruitt , December 6, 2012 1:57 PM
    They don't make 'em like they used to!
  • 11 Hide
    chewy1963 , December 6, 2012 2:13 PM
    cookoyMost awesome. Just how it is able to communicate with earth and how earth is able to track such a small object that far away - those are unbelievable feats.


    It has a transceiver with a dish for an antenna. On earth the Deep Space Network (world wide network of large antennas) receive signals from Voyager I and transmits commands to it. Signals take about 17 hours to make the trip from earth to Voyager I.
  • 12 Hide
    chewy1963 , December 6, 2012 2:16 PM
    Oh and the power source on Voyager I are three RTG's (radioisotope thermoelectric generators) not solar, so it can continue to transmit and receive signals at least until 2025.
  • 20 Hide
    Northwestern , December 6, 2012 2:34 PM
    "Back in my day, parts were built to last! Want proof? See the Voyager 1!"
  • 5 Hide
    machvelocy , December 6, 2012 3:02 PM
    122AU...
    wow..
    this means the signal released by the voyager have to travel 16 hours to be received at earth
  • 7 Hide
    CaedenV , December 6, 2012 3:11 PM
    witcherxwhere no man has gone before!

    and no man has gone yet!

    I wonder how many years it will be before we can build a ship that will pass Voyager.
  • 3 Hide
    wysir , December 6, 2012 3:55 PM
    CaedenVand no man has gone yet!I wonder how many years it will be before we can build a ship that will pass Voyager.


    ..and coming up on the left you will see Voyager 1. Voyager 1 was the biggest feat for mandkind's journey into outerspace, right behind Apollo 13 putting the first man on the moon.
  • 6 Hide
    madjimms , December 6, 2012 4:00 PM
    See people, Nuclear energy is perfectly safe when used properly. Nearly all long range spacecraft have very small nuclear devices powering them (in combination with solar)
  • -5 Hide
    madjimms , December 6, 2012 4:02 PM
    win7guruI bet this spacecraft was 100% american made. Sad they get parts from china now.

    This kind of thinking is why America is failing in the world.
  • 6 Hide
    kristi_metal , December 6, 2012 4:17 PM
    Can't believe they built such a solid equipment, with electronical devices that still work after all those years, and they work in unfavorable conditions, in space where there is a lot of radiation.
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