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article imageVoyager to exit solar system, enter interstellar space in 2016

By Andrew Moran     May 2, 2011 in Science
Pasadena - After leaving planet Earth more than 30 years ago, the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes are reaching the edge of our solar system. By 2016, the spacecraft will break free from our solar system and enter interstellar space.
In the summer of 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2 with its missions to study the planets Jupiter and Saturn and their respective satellites. The space probes, which travel 37,000 mph, carry messages of peace in 55 different languages from citizens of Earth.
World renowned scientist Carl Sagan accompanies the recordings – the discs contain human elements such as music and the sounds of nature – for any potential extraterrestrial civilizations.
In the next five years, the Voyager spacecraft will escape the bubble, otherwise known as the heliosphere, of our solar system and enter the realm of interstellar space, according to a NASA news release. Scientists say, though, that the spacecraft is still working and sending back “uncanny” messages.
To envision the Sun s presence in the Milky Way galaxy  think of a ship plowing through the ocean  b...
To envision the Sun's presence in the Milky Way galaxy, think of a ship plowing through the ocean, being tossed by currents. As the ship sails ahead, a bow shock spreads around the vessel. The area under the Sun's influence, stretching well beyond the planets and forming what's called the heliosphere, is like a ship. The outer edges of the heliosphere are gently buffeted by interstellar wind, the gas and dust between the stars. As the Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy, the helios
“Expect the unexpected,” said Voyager Project Scientist since 1972, Ed Stone of Caltech, reports MSNBC’s ScienceDaily. “It's uncanny. Voyager 1 and 2 have a knack for making discoveries. Each of these discoveries changed the way we thought of other worlds.”
Last week, NASA held a press conference that listed the achievements made by Voyager, including the discovery of volcanoes on Lo, a moon of Jupiter, an ocean underneath the surface of Jupiter’s Europa moon and the methane rain on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
Will there still be enough energy for Voyager? Yes, until the year 2020, because both of the probes are powered by the radioactive decay of plutonium 238 heat source, notes Press TV. However, following that year “Voyager will become our silent ambassador to the stars.”
In a CD version of the record, Sagan stated: “A billion years from now, when everything on Earth we've ever made has crumbled into dust, when the continents have changed beyond recognition and our species is unimaginably altered or extinct, the Voyager record will speak for us.”
More about Voyager, Solar system, interstellar travel, space probes, NASA
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