The Voyager spacecraft has entered the heliosheath, the energetic membrane that separates our system from the rest of the galaxy
NASA’s unmanned Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, has become the first vessel in history to reach the edge of the solar system, NASA announced in mid-June.
It’s hard to overstate the milestone: At some point in the near future — it could be days or months, possibly, but not likely even a few years — Voyager is expected to break away from the bubble of particles emitted by the Sun encasing our solar system and enter the totally new, completely unexplored region of interstellar space, the black void separating us from the other star systems in our Milky Way Galaxy.
Voyager’s ability to travel through the solar system to where it is now, 11 billion miles from Earth, passing by and snapping what were then the best images of Jupiter and Saturn in the process, has been a “crowning achievement,” according to the project’s chief scientist, Ed Stone, a preeminent 76 year-old physicist at Caltech, in a telephone interview with TPM.
“We were hopeful that the spacecraft would reach interstellar space,” Stone told TPM. “It’s really set some records: The longest and furthest-flying spacecraft ever designed and built.”