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Voyager 2 Cracks Big Boundary in Deep Space - Page 2

Spacecraft becomes 2nd man-made craft to enter interstellar space
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2018 10:00 AM CST

  • Where it is: Voyager 2 is now about 11 billion miles from Earth, traveling at 34,000mph, reports the BBC. Scientists say it crossed into interstellar space on Nov. 5. It had been detecting particles emitted by the sun, and the data suddenly dropped on that day.
  • Left the solar system? Though some stories say the spacecraft has left the solar system, project scientist Ed Stone avoids the phrase. More specifically, the spacecraft reached the edge of what's known as the heliosphere, "the bubble of particles and magnetic fields" from our sun, per JPL. It then crossed the boundary known as the "heliopause," which "is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium."
  • Onto the Oort: Here's how NASA's JPL addresses the above issue: "While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won't be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the sun's gravity." It could take Voyager 2 another 300 years to reach the cloud and 30,000 years to go beyond it, reports CBS News.
  • Power supply: Both Voyagers have a plutonium power source, which will eventually be depleted and render the onboard equipment useless. But the spacecraft themselves could last billions of years, says JPL.
(Both Voyagers carry recordings from Earth, including a Chuck Berry song.)

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