Washington, Dec 11 (GCCurrentAffairs) The Voyager 2 has become the second man-made object to enter into interstellar space, NASA announced in a press release.
“The PLS [Plasma Science Experiment instrument] aboard Voyager 2 observed a steep decline in the speed of the solar wind particles on Nov. 5,” the release said on Monday. “Since that date, the plasma instrument has observed no solar wind flow in the environment around Voyager 2, which makes mission scientists confident the probe has left the heliosphere.”
The spacecraft is trailing behind its predecessor, Voyager 1, which reached interstellar space in 2012.
“Voyager has a very special place for us in our heliophysics fleet,” Director of the NASA Heliophysics Division Nicola Fox said. “Our studies start at the Sun and extend out to everything the solar wind touches. To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the Sun’s influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory.”
Both Voyagers were launched in 1977 with an expected lifespan of five years. However, Voyager 2 contains an instrument that continues to send signals back to Earth 22 billion miles away – a journey that requires about 16.5 hours at the speed of light, according to the release.