One of the first probes launched into deep space is still in our solar system, but it won’t be for much longer.
NASA scientists report that Voyager 1 is close to leaving our solar system and heading out into the universe.
The spacecraft, which is more than 11 billion miles from Earth, has entered a “magnetic highway,” a new region of crisscrossing charged particles, some from the sun and some from interstellar space.
But researchers, speaking at a news briefing in Pasadena, Calif., said there was no indication of a change in the magnetic field that would indicate that Voyager had entered interstellar space itself.
Edward Stone, a Voyager project scientist, said this new region may be the last layer before interstellar space, but it could take the spacecraft another two or three years to cross it. Voyager 1 is traveling about 11 miles a second; a companion craft, Voyager 2, is not quite as far from the Sun and is traveling slower, less than 10 miles a second.