The Voyager 1 space probe has reached the edge of the solar system, extending its record for being the most distant man-made object in space, Reuters report said.
According to a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the spacecraft is sending back data to Earth showing a sharp increase in charged particles that originate from beyond the solar system.
“Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion – that humanity’s first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system,” NASA said in the statement.
Voyager 1, along with its sister spacecraft Voyager 2, was launched in 1977 by NASA and is now about 18 billion kilometers from the Sun. It is moving at a speed of about 17 km per second and it currently takes 16 hours and 38 minutes for data to reach NASA’s network on Earth. Voyager 2 is about 15 billion kilometers from the Sun.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is a 722 kilogram (1,592 lb) space probe to study the outer Solar System and interstellar medium. Operating for 34 years, 9 months and 9 days as of today (current operation time), the spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network. At a distance of 120 astronomical units (1.8×1010 km) as of February 2012, it is the farthest man-made object from Earth. Voyager 1 is now in the heliosheath, which is the outermost layer of the heliosphere. On 15 June 2012, NASA scientists reported that Voyager 1 may be very close to entering interstellar space and becoming the first human-made object to leave the Solar System.
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