NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft is now cruising 11 billion miles away from Earth which suggests that it is about to leave our solar system.
Researchers said that the space where the Voyager 1 is located is marked with higher flow of charged particles from beyond our solar system. Scientists suspect that the increased flow denotes that the spacecraft is about to enter intersteller space.
“The laws of physics say that someday Voyager will become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, but we still do not know exactly when that someday will be,” said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, in a statement. “The latest data indicate that we are clearly in a new region where things are changing more quickly,” Stone added. “It is very exciting. We are approaching the solar system’s frontier.”
Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 and its twin spacecraft Voyager 2 main mission is to study Jupiter, Saturn and their moons. After collecting significant finds about these space bodies, the spacecraft just kept on going studying Neptune and Uranus on their way toward interstellar space.
Currently, both spacecraft is in the outer shell of heliosphere called heliosheath, a very turbulent region. The heliosphere is made of solar plasma and solar-magnetic fields. New measurements of fast-moving galactic cosmic rays from Voyager 1 suggest that is near the heliosphere’s edge.
It is difficult to ascertain when the Voyager 1 will actually reach the interstellar space but scientists are closely monitoring cosmic ray measurements and other possible indicators like the intensity of energetic particles and magnetic fields. For now, the Voyager spacecraft will just keep on flying and exploring through space. Voyager 2 is trailing a bit behind and it is currently 9.1 billion miles away from Earth.
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