NASA probe nearing interstellar space

Enlarge Image This illustration shows the positions of the Voyager 1 and Voyager probes with the heliosphere marked.                  NASA  JPL-Caltech

Enlarge Image This illustration shows the positions of the Voyager 1 and Voyager probes with the heliosphere marked. NASA JPL-Caltech

It wasn't long ago that Voyager 1 entered interstellar space, leaving the solar system's protective heliosphere.

According to NASA, the spacecraft has started to detect the same increase in cosmic radiation that hit Voyager 1 just before it finally entered interstellar space.

It is based on two different instruments on Board the spacecraft "Voyager-2".

Now, the team is watching for the probe to exit the heliosphere and reaching the heliopause.

"We're going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still don't know when we'll reach the heliopause". Voyager 2 is in a different location in the heliosheath - the outer region of the heliosphere - than Voyager 1 had been, and possible differences in these locations means Voyager 2 may experience a different exit timeline than Voyager 1.

Signals indicate the NASA space probe could be nearing the edge of the heliosphere.

Since the end of August, the instruments probe noticed a 5% increase in the number of cosmic rays in comparison with the beginning of August. Some of these cosmic rays are blocked by the heliosphere, so mission planners have been expecting that Voyager 2 will detect that increased cosmic ray activity as the spacecraft approaches and crosses the boundary of the heliosphere. We're not there yet that's one thing I can say with assurance "said Voyager Project Scientist Ed Stone from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California".

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The only details known to the NASA team about the Voyager 2 is that it is nearly 11 billion miles (17.7 billion kilometers) away from home.

The heliopause is the bubble around our solar system formed by the solar wind, the rush of charged particles that constantly streams off our sun.

As both probes continued their epic journey, on 25 August 2012 Voyager 1 officially crossed the border between our Solar System and the space beyond, becoming the first human-made object to head out into interstellar space. It was launched in 1977, and scientists have been monitoring it until today.

Between them, Voyager 1 and 2 have explored all the giant outer planets of the solar system, 48 of their moons, and the unique systems of rings and magnetic fields those planets possess.

Voyager 1's path took it away from the planets toward interstellar space.

This is because the Solar System slightly expands and contracts during the 11-year solar cycle.

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