NASA's Voyager 2 makes milestone move into interstellar space

NASA Voyager 2 enters interstellar space, could become 'the only trace of human civilization'

This time the passage into interstellar space is yielding a different set of readings, with new clues to how the sun affects space in the far reaches of the solar system. Voyager 1 first passed across the edge of the magnetic bubble generated by the sun in 2013, as it took a different path, and the bubble is elliptical.

The spacecraft moved beyond the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun known as the heliosphere, NASA has confirmed.

He said both probes had now "made it into interstellar space" and that Voyager 2's date of departure from the Solar System was 5 November 2018. NASA said that since the spacecraft could last billions of years, they may one day "be the only traces of human civilization".

Find out more in the video above.

This massive bubble made up of icy debris is thought to begin at a distance of 1,000 astronomical units from our Sun. "Now we're looking forward to what we'll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause". At 11 billion miles, Voyager 2 is more than 122 AU away from Earth - which is still a very long way away, but certainly not beyond the solar system.

NASA's Voyager 2 has breached the final frontier in space - but the world wouldn't even know if not for a group of Australians listening in.

Determining exactly when a spacecraft leaves the solar system and officially enters interstellar space is surprisingly hard.

Voyager 2 carries something unique: the Plasma Science Experiment instrument.

"This is a very exciting time again in Voyager's 41-year journey, so far, of exploring the planets and now the heliosphere and entering interstellar space", Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at Caltech, told a news briefing.

The space agency separately launched its twin Voyager spacecraft in 1977 with a mission to explore the outer solar system. The PSE instrument stopped working for Voyager 1 in 1980, however, so Voyager 2 has been able to gather more in-depth information than its twin during this historic moment. Regardless of where one believes the sun's sphere of influence ends, both Voyagers are poised to greatly extend it-each has a famous Golden Record onboard in the event any other spacefaring species happens across them on their lonely, eons-long sojourns between the stars. And it's an incredible feat for a spacecraft created to last five years. It will take about 30,000 years for the spacecraft to get that far.

This was because the planned route for Voyager 2 was significantly longer, with it being set on a flyby course with numerous outer planets, revealing the first close-ups and important scientific data on planets such as Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.

Our star system is surrounded by a hotchpotch of small objects called the Oort Cloud which are still affected by the sun's gravity.

"The spacecraft no longer has a working recorder on board so it is continuously streaming back that information", Mr. Nagle said.

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