Friday, September 13, 2013
At last, Voyager 1 slips into interstellar space
Humankind has officially extended its reach to the space between the stars.
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft exited the vast bubble of particles that encircles the sun and planets on August 25, 2012, mission scientists report September 12 in Science. At the time, Voyager was about 18.2 billion kilometers from the sun, or nearly 122 times as far from the sun as Earth.
“This is the beginning of a new era of exploration for us,” says Edward Stone of Caltech, who has headed the Voyager mission since 1972. “For the first time, we are exploring interstellar space.”
Confirmation of Voyager’s interstellar exploits came after determining that the probe is surrounded by a relatively dense fog of galactic particles rather than a thin mist of solar ones. It was a tricky measurement that required patience, clever detective work and a heavy dose of luck.
Voyager: Through the door to eternity
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Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot