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First man-made object to leave our solar system

Voyager 1

What is it?

It’s a space probe launched by NASA from Cape Canaveral, Florida on September 5, 1977 with the first objective of studying the outer planets of our solar system (the four gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). The second objective was to study the interstellar space (medium).

Where is it now?

Being launched more than 35 years ago, the Voyager 1 probe is the most distant man-made object from Earth and is now more than 18 billion km (11 billion miles) away from the Sun.

Scientists are reluctant to say that Voyager 1 has left our solar system and are sure it’s in a new and previously unknown borderline region between the heliosphere and interstellar space.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has so many firsts that google will ban my article for spamming this word.

voyager1 voyager2

What did it accomplish?

  1. 1.On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 took the first "family portrait" of our Solar System as seen from outside
  2. 2.On November 17, 1998, Voyager 1 overtook Pioneer 10 as the most distant man-made object from Earth, at a distance of 69.419 AU
  3. 3.On December 1, 2011, it was announced that Voyager 1 detected the first Lyman-alpha radiation originating from the Milky Way galaxy.
  4. 4.It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two largest planets (Jupiter, Saturn) and their moons.

It could possibly be the first manmade object to leave the solar system but is a very difficult problem identifying where the solar system ends and interstellar space begins.

The delimitation of where the solar system begins or ends comes down to semantics. The sun’s radiation may no longer be affecting the space probe but its gravitational effect spreads for many more billions of miles. The Oort cloud, a hypothetical band of icy rocks that lie 7.5 trillion km or 50.000 AU from the sun, and there should still be gravitationally bound to our local star and could therefore be considered the edge of the solar system. Voyager 1 has a long way to go before it reaches that distance, almost a light-year away.

Watch Voyager Humanity's Farthest Journey


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