Voyager Nears Edge of Solar System

Spacecraft reaches region where solar winds stop
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Suggested by AstroDude
Posted Dec 14, 2010 6:36 AM CST
This undated artist's rendering shows one of NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft.    (AP Photo/NASA, File)

(Newser) – Some 33 years after it was launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has reached the outer edge of the solar system and is on course to become the first man-made device to sail into the vast stretches of space that lie beyond. Astronomers have confirmed that the spacecraft has reached a region called the heliopause, where the solar winds that have blown past Voyager for the last 10 billion miles slow to a stop, Discover reports.

In another few years, the spacecraft will emerge from the shell of gases that surrounds the solar system and enter interstellar space. "When Voyager was launched, the space age itself was only 20 years old, so there was no basis to know that spacecraft could last so long," a project scientists tells the BBC. "We had no idea how far we would have to travel to get outside the solar system. We now know that in roughly five years, we should be outside for the first time."

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