A Brief History
On September 12, 2013, the American space agency, NASA, reported that its spacecraft, Voyager 1, had become the first ever man-made object to leave our solar system.
Known as “interstellar space,” the space beyond our own solar system is also described as the “Heliopause,” a region beyond the reach of the “solar wind” effects of our sun. Interstellar space is also roughly described as space beyond any of the orbiting planets, planetoids, and other space objects that go around our sun.
In numbers you may be able to relate to, interstellar space begins about 11 or 12 billion miles outward from the Sun. For perspective, most of our space satellites are between a hundred and a thousand miles above the Earth, the International Space Station is about 260 miles up, the Moon is almost 240,000 miles away, and the Sun is 93 million miles from the Earth.
Voyager 1 has now been on its mission for 45 years and is more than 14.6 billion miles from the Earth. It is traveling at about 38,000 mph!
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For more information, please see…
Bell, Jim. The Interstellar Age: The Story of the NASA Men and Women Who Flew the Forty-Year Voyager Mission. Dutton, 2016.
Riley, Christopher. NASA Voyager 1 & 2 Owners’ Workshop Manual – 1977 onwards. Haynes Publishing, 2015.
The featured image in this article, a simulated view from Voyager 1 looking toward the Sun by Vsfx (Note: Planets and their orbits are shown here but are not visible due to great distances), is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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