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Voyager 1 touches the edge of our solar system
posted January 20 2011 20:45.48 by Giorgos Lazaridis

Photo: Wikipedia

It is the first human-made object ever gone that far. How far? Well, some 11 billion miles away from earth. It is the Voyager twins! Two spacecrafts that were launched for a long journey back in 1977 (Voyager 1: 1977-09-05 12:56:00 UTC, Voyager 2: 1977-08-20 14:29:00 UTC). For the past six months, scientists had their eyes fixed on their monitors watching the readings of Voyager 1.

The spacecraft is moving with a speed of 17 kilometers per second. All the time so far, sun particles were hitting it from behind, as it always had our sun on its tail. Suddenly, that changed. They noticed that sun particles are now hitting the instruments from the front, at exactly the same speed as the spacecraft travels. What happened? Most probably, the sun particles have zero speed at that distance, and the spacecraft is not hitting them, like bugs on the windshield of the cars!

Photo: NASA

Scientists says that true interstellar space might remain years and billions of miles away, but we will be there within the next decade. We will know, when all the particle readings from the lab's instrument will drop to zero.

Next stops: Constellation Camelopardalis in 40.000 years from now. As for Voyager 2, it has a kinda longer journey ahead to Sirius the brightest star in the sky. It should arrive there in 296,000 years. Unfortunately, sometime around 2025, the two craft will fall silent.

[Link: NASA]
Tags: science   space related   history   

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