NASA: Voyager 1 Officially Reaches Interstellar Space

Posted on September 13, 2013

Voyager 1 in Instellar Space

NASA says Voyager 1 has officially reached interstellar space, the space between stars. The spacecraft was launched in 1977. Interstellar space is dominated by a plasma, or ionized gas, that is the result of the death of nearby giant stars from millions of years ago. The interstellar plasma is shown with an orange glow in the artist concept above.

Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object at more than 11.6 billion miles from the sun, which is about 125 astronomical units. The image below helps put solar system distances in perspective. The scale bar is astronomical units with 1 AU representing 10 times the previous distance. You can find a larger version of the image here.

Voyager goes interstellar - solar system scale

John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington, says, "Voyager has boldly gone where no probe has gone before, marking one of the most significant technological achievements in the annals of the history of science, and adding a new chapter in human scientific dreams and endeavors. Perhaps some future deep space explorers will catch up with Voyager, our first interstellar envoy, and reflect on how this intrepid spacecraft helped enable their journey."

Take a look:

NASA also released audio of the sounds of interstellar space. The sounds were captured using Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech