About a year ago, the twin Voyager spacecrafts possibly reaching the boundaries of our solar system had begun to surface. But scientists needed time to confirm the data. Well, today NASA has announced that Voyager 1 has indeed left the solar system and is now in interstellar space. The following is an excerpt from the official announcement from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
"Now that we have new, key data, we believe this is mankind's historic leap into interstellar space," said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "The Voyager team needed time to analyze those observations and make sense of them. But we can now answer the question we've all been asking -- 'Are we there yet?' Yes, we are."
At about 12 billion miles (19.3 billion kilometers) from Earth, well beyond the orbit of Pluto, the 36 year old spacecraft is our farthest ambassador, a truly remarkable accomplishment of all of humanity. What is most remarkable, however, is that Voyager 1 still has power estimated to last until 2025, relaying back data about the conditions of interstellar space, further advancing our knowledge and understanding of the universe. After that, it will orbit the center of our galaxy until the end of times. Just imagine: when we are long gone, Voyager 1 will still be out there, crossing the great void, with messages from a long forgotten civilization, on a tiny golden record.
Science is amazing!
* Illustration and video are from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory