Voyager 2 becomes second craft in interstellar space

Voyager 2 becomes second craft in interstellar space

Voyager 2 becomes second craft in interstellar space

The news conference will stream live on the agency's website.

One of the bonuses to having two probes outside the heliosphere is that scientists will receive two completely different sets of data.

But for now, scientists will continue to monitor the data from space, which will provide new insight on the temperature and speed of the winds in the interstellar medium, among other aspects.

Voyager 2's plasma science experiment provided the first direct look at what happens to the solar wind as the spacecraft enters interstellar space. NASA says the Voyager 2 is a little over 11 billion miles from our own planet, though its mission operators are still able to communicate with the probe.

The Voyager team will continue to take measurements as both spacecraft travel away from the sun into a region called the outer heliosheath, although neither probe has much time remaining to make observations.

NASA has confirmed that Voyager 2 exited the heliosphere which is the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun. Other instruments on Voyager 2 have corroborated the theory. The fact that the two spacecraft are in different positions in space allows for scientists to retrieve data from different parts of outer space around the solar system. NASA noticed the PLS saw a serious decline in the speed of solar wind particles on november 5.

Though it launched a couple weeks before its twin Voyager 1, its trajectory took it on a longer route through the solar system.

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"We are fortunate enough to have 2 very fearless sentinels that have left our heliosphere and are out truly looking at the other side of the boundary", Fox added.

Voyager 2 was launched on August 20 1977 - 16 days before its twin Voyager 1 - making it the oldest space mission. "We're still seeing things that no one has seen before".

"I often get asked, 'So, is this it for Voyager?".

"This is a very exciting time again in Voyager's 41-year journey", said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at Caltech and former director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, during a press conference announcing the discovery.

"There may be a whole population of rogue planets out in interstellar space", Redfield says. Launched in 1977, it is the only spacecraft to study all four of the solar system's giant planets at close range, and is NASA's longest-running mission. It could also be the true boundary of the solar system, if you consider that to be the point where the sun's gravitational influence drops off. While its width isn't exactly known, it is estimated to begin at about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the sun and to extend to about 100,000 AU. Its cover includes information on how to play and decode the disc, and bears directions to Earth's sun based on the locations and frequencies of 14 pulsars.

At its current speed, Voyager 2 most likely wouldn't reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud for another 300 years. The spacecraft are powered by slowly-decaying radioactive material, so they're not reliant upon sunlight to stay online.

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