Voyager Spacecraft Enters Interstellar Space After 44 Years
After 44 years journey in space, Voyager 1 spacecraft has finally entered the interstellar space – the space between stars.
On September 12, 2013, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft changed its status from “travelling through space” to “travelling through interstellar space.” Indeed, it became the first human-made object to exit our solar system and enter deep space. The historic moment was achieved on August 25, 2012, but scientists only confirmed it in 2013 after analyzing data transmitted by Voyager 1 to its parent signal back in Earth.
Voyager 1 was launched in 1977, when it embarked on a mission to study the outer planets of our solar system, including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. It did so by taking close-up images of the planets, studying their magnetic fields, and detecting their radiation. The mission was initially planned to last only ten years, but due to its extended battery life, it has continued to send valuable scientific data even four decades later.
As Voyager 1 continued to move beyond these planets, the spacecraft also became the first to cross the heliosphere – the bubble-like region of charged particles created by the Sun that encompasses our entire solar system – and enter interstellar space. It did so by passing through a “termination shock” where the solar winds slow down and interact with the interstellar wind, forming a boundary called the “heliopause.” Voyager 1 has now travelled over 14 billion miles away from Earth.
Scientists continue to analyze the data transmitted by Voyager 1 as the spacecraft ventures further into space, providing unprecedented insights into the nature of our universe and allowing us to explore areas beyond our solar system. One of the primary scientific objectives of Voyager 1’s mission is to help us understand the magnetic fields, cosmic rays, and other phenomena of the very edge of our solar system. Additionally, the data collected by the spacecraft is also essential in our quest to understand the formation of our solar system and the potential for life beyond Earth.
In summary, the entry of Voyager 1 into interstellar space marks a significant milestone in human exploration of the cosmos and serves as a testament to human ingenuity and determination. As the spacecraft continues to venture deeper into space, it provides us with valuable scientific data that allows us to better understand our place in the universe and the mysteries that await us beyond the boundaries of our solar system. Voyager 1’s journey has proved that human exploration and discovery know no bounds, and the possibilities for new discoveries and achievements are limitless.