Voyager 2 Spacecraft Enters Interstellar Space

Saturday, 15 Dec, 2018

The space agency separately launched its twin Voyager spacecraft in 1977 with a mission to explore the outer solar system. "Your smartphone has 200,000 times more memory than what the Voyager spacecraft have", she added.

Nasa said that the spacecraft left the region of the sun's influence last month and is now beyond the outer boundary of the heliosphere, about 11 billion miles from Earth. Until November 5 this year the PLS aboard the Voyager 2 was sending readings with high solar wind levels. The Voyager 2's arrival in interstellar space comes a handful of years after Voyager 1's own similar achievement.

"Working on Voyager makes me feel like an explorer, because everything we're seeing is". "Even though Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause in 2012, it did so at a different place and a different time, and without the PLS data".

NASA's Voyager 2 is probing the space between the stars.

Nasa wrote: 'In about 40,000 years, Voyager 2 will pass 1.7 light-years (9.7 trillion miles) from the star Ross 248 and in about 296,000 years, it will pass 4.3 light-years (25 trillion miles) from Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

Heat from the decay of a radioactive material, contained in a device called a radioisotope thermal generator (RTG) powers the probes as they journey out into the unknown.

The gold-plated copper disk bears sounds, images and spoken greetings in multiple languages to depict Earth's diversity of life and culture, meant to communicate with potential extraterrestrial beings.

Voyager 2 is very cold - about 3.6 degrees Kelvin and close to the freezing point of hydrogen - causing concerns about the probe's thruster.

A NASA illustration of the Voyager spacecraft.

The Voyager probes were only created to last five years and study the giant gas planets Jupiter and Saturn.

The probe is now dipping below the plane of the solar system at roughly 55,522 kilometres an hour and heading celestially south, toward the constellation Sagittarius. Since that date, the plasma instrument has observed no solar wind flow in the environment around Voyager 2, which makes mission scientists confident the probe has left the heliosphere. This instrument stopped working on Voyager 1 in 1980, but it's still operating on Voyager 2.

What now? It's estimated it will take about 30,000 years for Voyager 2 to leave the solar system by flying beyond the Oort Cloud, a ring of icy objects that is believed to encircle the sun, way beyond the furthest planets. This signified to NASA that, indeed, Voyager 2 was finally interstellar.

The two spacecraft were launched in the summer of 1977, fitted with instruments and cameras that astronomers hoped would provide them with information on Jupiter and Saturn over the course of five years. They were able to perform not only this task, but also research and other distant planets of the Solar system.