Friday, September 18, 2020

14 Billion Miles from Earth

Yesterday Voyager 1 passed a distance of 14 billion miles from Earth.

Voyager 1 was launched into space on September 5, 1977. Its mission is to study the outer Solar System. It has taken Voyager 1 forty years to travel 14 billion miles. 14 billion miles is the furthest distance that any man made object has traveled from Earth. However in over 40 years Voyager 1 has yet to travel one lightday from Earth.

In 2012 Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space. Voyager 1 is still transmitting data to Earth. Hopefully it will continue to do so at least until 2025 when its radioisotope thermoelectric generators will probably no longer supply enough electric power to operate its scientific instruments

NASA's Voyager Mission Status website provides real-time information about the status of both Voyager spacecraft. On this page you can view how many miles each Voyager has traveled and the operating status of the scientific equipment of each craft.

The Voyager Missions Status page also includes an interactive map which shows the position of Voyager 1 & 2 in relation to the Sun and the planets. This 3D space map allows you to get some sense of the huge distances traveled by the Voyager spacecraft. However despite the huge distance already traveled Voyager 1 will take another 300 years to reach the Oort Cloud. The outer limit of the Oort cloud defines the cosmographic boundary of our Solar System.

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