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NASA's Voyager 2 probe has entered the interstellar space



"I think we are all happy and relieved that the Voyager probes have both worked long enough to reach this milestone," said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager Project Manager. "We've all been waiting for that, and now we look forward to what we can learn from both probes outside Heliopause."

NASA had already announced in October that this moment might be suspected to happen soon The spacecraft had discovered more and more cosmic radiation, something that Voyager 1

experienced in 2012. But Voyager 2 had something its partner had not done when leaving the heliosphere – a functional plasma science experiment. Voyager 1 has not been functional since 1980, but Voyager 2 is still functional and can measure the solar wind. On Nov. 5, Voyager 2 noted a sharp drop in solar wind particle velocity and since then has not measured solar wind flow – strong evidence that it has left the sun's protective bubble.

Three other instruments on board – the Cosmic Radiation Subsystem, the low-energy charged particle probe, and the magnetometer – also recorded data that matched what would be expected when leaving the heliosphere.

Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 is NASA's longest-running mission today. Both it and Voyager 1 were initially built for five years and should take a look at Jupiter and Saturn. But at the age of 41, both are still driving a truck and are now giving us a glimpse of what's outside Heliopause. "Voyager has a very special place in our heliophysics fleet," said Nicola Fox, Director of NASA's Heliophysics Division. "Our investigations begin with the Sun and cover everything that the solar wind touches, and when the Voyagers return information about the influence of the Sun, we gain unprecedented insight into a truly unexplored area." within the solar system, however. Until you leave the Oort Cloud, a large collection of distant objects that are still affected by the gravitational force of the sun. Although it is not known how far the Oort cloud really is, scientists estimate that Voyager 2 takes about 300 years to reach the inner edge, and maybe 30,000 years to leave the outer edge.


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