Voyager space probes are the farthest-traveled human object in history. This September they celebrate 43 years moving away from Earth at 17 kilometers per hour. What is your destination and how long until your next milestone?
In 1977, NASA sent two probes into space with the original goal of exploring Jupiter and Saturn.
Voyager it was scheduled to last five years; However, the discoveries he made changed the way of understanding these gas giants and the rest of the Solar System, causing the mission to extend to Uranus and Neptune, the first images of which reached humanity thanks to Voyager 2.
The results triggered a new mission shift, this time with an ambitious plan to achieve the limits of the solar system and explore interstellar space.
In 1990 Voyager 1 continued to drift away from our planet and took the farthest photograph ever taken of Earth:
The space probe captured the appearance of Earth 6 billion kilometers away. In it, our planet appears as a tiny pixel lost in the vastness of the cosmos.
Now read: “Pale Blue Dot”: 30-year photo of Earth taken from Voyager 1
It is about the famous ‘pale blue point’, a photograph that awakens the deepest reflections on human fragility, the place that the Earth occupies in a cosmic perspective and the need to preserve our planet, the only place we know fit for life at any cost.
In 2013, NASA announced that Voyager 1 left the Solar System and became the first object built by mankind to reach the interstellar space, a region defined by the heliopause, that is, the place where the solar wind formed by a flow of particles and its magnetic field stop influencing space.
At that time, the space agency calculated that the probe was 19 billion kilometers away from the Sun and today it continues its journey into the vastness of the cosmos.
Photo: NASA / JPL
It also reads: Confirmed: Voyager 1 has left the Solar System
Voyagers continue to move away from Earth at an average speed of 17 kilometers per second. It is very likely that both space probes are about to exhaust their fuel reserves in this decade. Then they will stop transmitting information to our planet; however, they will continue their eternal journey through the cosmos:
NASA estimates that in the next 300 years, Voyager 1 will reach the Oort Cloud, the last remnant of comets and cosmic dust that still depend on the Sun’s gravity.
The space probe will cross the Oort Cloud during the following 30 thousand years. It will be then that Voyager 1 reaches the next milestone in human history: At that moment, it will be less distant from another star than from our own Sun.
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