Each Voyager is providing new insights into a never-before-visited part of deep space.

10 Billion Miles From Home

More than 35 years into their mission, our farthest-flung spacecraft are not finished yet.

By Paul Hoversten
Air & Space magazine, February 2013

Once they darted around Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune on a Grand Tour of the outer planets. Today, more than 35 years after they left Earth, Voyagers 1 and 2 are pressing on toward the edge of the sun’s influence. Beyond lies interstellar space, and what they’ll encounter there scientists can only guess: Nothing from Earth has been where these far-flung emissaries are going. We have a little more than a decade to find out before the Voyagers’ nuclear power source gets too weak to let the spacecraft send any more transmissions. Even with the power off, the probes will continue their solitary march. The Voyagers will then have no mission other than to exist. Long after life on Earth ends, these spacecraft will fly on, proof—if there’s anything out there to recognize it—that a civilization on a small planet in the Milky Way galaxy once reached for the stars.

Read more: 10 Billion Miles From Home | Space Exploration | Air & Space Magazine.

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