NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space.
Friday, September 13, 2013, 9:03 PM -
Thirty six years after launching from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Voyager 1 probe has gone where no man-made spacecraft has gone before.
Officials have announced it is the start of a new journey, one that is taking the probe beyond the solar system.
Voyager 1 is currently 18.5 billion kilometres from the Sun. Scientists believe it actually crossed into interstellar space more than a year ago, but evidence that it finally escaped the sun's influence has only recently come to light. Voyager 1 is now in the cold, vast emptiness between the stars. On board is a gold plated phonograph record containing music from masters such as Beethoven and Bach, as well as greetings in a variety of languages, and photos of various life forms on Earth. The hope is that the probe will one day be found by intelligent life somewhere out there.
Voyager 1 continues to beam information back to Earth, long after its historic flyby of Jupiter and Saturn in 1979 and 1980. Radio signals containing data sent by the spacecraft take 17 hours to reach Earth.
In this first foray beyond Pluto, scientists may soon learn about the impact of Interstellar radiation on future space explorations. It's uncharted territory, at least as far as space travel is concerned.
Voyager's journey beyond the solar system is a milestone in more ways than one. It has also made history achieving the feat with decades-old technology.