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.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere