According to NASA’s statement on 5 October, the Voyager 2 – which was launched in 1977, is now getting closer to the edge of the solar system.
There are two instruments on board the spacecraft, which noticed at the end of August a difference in how the probe was hit by cosmic rays. The same phenomenon happened to Voyager 1 as well – three months before it left the solar system back in 2012. However, scientists will learn about this change in cosmic rays only after the probe leaves the solar system.
Ed Stone, a physicist at Caltech and a Voyager Project Scientist, stated:
“We’re seeing a change in the environment around Voyager 2, there’s no doubt about that. We’re going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still don’t know when we’ll reach the heliopause. We’re not there yet — that’s one thing I can say with confidence.”
11 Billion Miles Away From Earth
The only details known to the NASA team about the Voyager 2 is that it is almost 11 billion miles (17.7 billion kilometers) away from home. It’s difficult to estimate when the spacecraft passes through the heliopause.
The heliopause is what surrounds our solar system, it is formed by solar winds which come from our sun, flowing and ebbing over the course of an 11-year cycle. It is similar to a bubble around the solar system which expands and contracts.
Considering that Voyager 2 was not released at the same time as its predecessor or the same path, scientists cannot predict when it will pass through the heliopause.
However, as it will successfully escape the solar system, the spacecraft will become the second object made by humans that reached this goal. We hope that this mission will come with important information for scientists to unveil some of the mysteries the deep space has to offer.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.