NASA's Voyager 1 Reaching Interstellar Space 35 Years after Leaving Earth
Did you know the smallest iPod, an 8-gigabyte iPod Nano, is 100,000 times more powerful than Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2?
Considered a relic of the early Space Age, Voyager 1 is still in operation approaching the boundary that separates the solar system from interstellar space — the space between the solar system and the stars.
Wednesday, Sept. 5, marked the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch to Jupiter and Saturn, and according to an Associated Press report posted on NewYork.Newsday.com, Voyager 1 used Saturn as a gravitational slingshot to catapult itself toward the edge of the solar system, which is enveloped in a giant plasma bubble, and is now flitting around the fringes. Outside the bubble is a new frontier in the Milky Way — the space between stars.
Voyager 1 is in uncharted celestial territory, the report reads, and the boundary that separates the solar system and interstellar space is near, but could take days, months or years to cross.
NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which first left Earth in 1977, are the longest-operating spacecraft in history and the most distant, at billions of miles from Earth but in different directions. Each only has 68 kilobytes of computer memory — the smallest iPod, an 8-gigabyte iPod Nano, is 100,000 times more powerful.
Check out five facts about Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 from SPACE.com and more information on the Voyager interstellar mission from NASA.
So far, 2012 has been an interesting year for skygazers, with a blue moon in August (the last until 2015), the Perseid meteor showers mid-month, the discovery of a fifth moon around dwarf planet Pluto in July and the Venus transit in early June. Do you follow the what's happening in space? Tell us in comments.