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Published on September 15th, 2013 | by Martha Kent

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NASA officially announced on Thursday that the U.S. space probe Voyager 1, launched in 1977, became the first man-made object that has left the Solar System

After a long journey of almost 36 years, the Voyager 1 probe, launched in 1977, will allow scientists to understand what exists in interstellar space. In a recent statement, NASA mentioned that this is the first ventured into interstellar space

Voyager

According to latest data, Voyager 1 travels for almost a year through plasma or ionized gas found in far away Space, between the stars. NASA just announced that a detailed analysis of this breakthrough event will be published by a team of researchers from the University of Iowa in the “Science” journal.

It is believed that Voyager 1 probe entered into Interstellar Space last year in August when the scientists noticed dramatic changes in terms of radiation exposure coming from the space probe. John Grunsfeld, an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut, said that Voyager 1 has gone where no man-made object has been before (I know, the Star Trek intro), becoming one of the most important technological achievements in the history of human space exploration. Voyager 1 has a twin brother called Voyager 2 that will also leave the Solar System in 3 years.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have already float around the Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune planets and 48 of their moons. Data transmitted from the 9 instruments found on board of each of the two probes transformed the Voyager project into the most prolific space exploration mission ever. Most of the things we know about those planets came from the Voyager mission. For the first time in our history, the probes allowed us to see beyond the lights in the sky and what has been just a far away light has become a real place. The initial journey was not easy to plan. It was possible due to an uncommon alignment of the planets that happens once every 176 years. Thanks to this alignment, the Voyager probes managed to travel from planet to planet, using the gravitational field of each planet to accelerate and fly out to the next one.

Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977, and its twin probe, Voyager 2, was launched on August 20, 1977. Their original mission was to study the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the task that was successfully accomplished in 1989. They were then directed to the center of the Milky Way.

The size of a car, Voyager 1 has an antenna with a diameter of four meters and a radio that allows it to send data back to Earth. It takes 17 hours for the information to be transmitted from the probe to NASA’s headquarters, back on Earth.

Voyager 1’s photo camera was turned off in 1990 in order to save energy resources. With its current batteries, the probe is able to power its instruments until 2020-2025 (if it’s not using radio communications). When the batteries will be exhausted, the probes will continue a long and lonely journey, wandering in interstellar space. Inside it, Voyager 1 has a disc with songs, images from Earth and greetings in different languages. Why? In 1977, the year of their launch in Space, scientists took into consideration the probability of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 encountering other species.


Tags: Space, technology


About the Author

I am the senior editor for SciNotions web magazine. In the past, I have also worked in various projects involving science, music, technology and gadgets.



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