Article from Fox News on NASA’s declaration that Voyager 1 has left the solar system going “where no machine has gone before”. Here is an excerpt about historic event and what is in store next for Voyager 1:
“Voyager 1 actually made its exit more than a year ago, scientists said. But since there’s no “Welcome to Interstellar Space” sign out there, NASA waited for more evidence before concluding that the probe had in fact broken out of the hot plasma bubble surrounding the planets.
Voyager 1, which is about the size of a small car, is drifting in a part of the universe littered with the remnants of ancient star explosions.
It will study exotic particles and other phenomena and will radio the data back to Earth, where the Voyager team awaits the starship’s discoveries. It takes about 17 hours for its signal to reach Earth.
While Voyager 1 may have left the solar system as most people understand it, it still has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years to go before bidding adieu to the last icy bodies that make up our neighborhood.
At the rate it is going, it would take 40,000 years to reach the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.
Voyager 1’s odyssey began in 1977 when the spacecraft and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched on a tour of the gas giant planets of the solar system.
After beaming back dazzling postcard views of Jupiter’s giant red spot and Saturn’s shimmering rings, Voyager 2 hopscotched to Uranus and Neptune. Meanwhile, Voyager 1 used Saturn as a gravitational slingshot to power itself past Pluto.
Last year, scientists monitoring Voyager 1 noticed strange happenings that suggested the spacecraft had broken through: Charged particles streaming from the sun suddenly vanished. Also, there was a spike in galactic cosmic rays bursting in from the outside.”
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