(Sen) - One of NASA’s oldest space probes, Voyager 1, appears to have reached the edge of the Solar System, 34 years after it was launched on a grand tour of the planets.
Despite its age and distance, scientists back in California are still receiving signals. Travelling at the speed of light, these take 16 hours 38 minutes to cross 17.8 billion kilometres of space (11.1 billion miles).
Recent data has shown a marked increase in the intensity of cosmic rays from outside the Solar System. This provides overwhelming evidence that Voyager 1 is leaving a protective bubble of charged particles called the heliosphere that is blown out by the Sun and surrounds its family of worlds.
That means Voyager 1 is on the brink of becoming the first probecreated by humans to reach interstellar space on its journey to mingle with the stars.
The cosmic rays that are striking two High Energy telescopes aboard Voyager 1 come from supernovae that exploded long ago in our local region of the Milky Way galaxy. There was a significant increase in the level of impacts last month.