NASA's Voyager 2 becomes second spacecraft to reach interstellar space

Voyager

Voyager

This makes Voyager 2 the second human-made object to journey out of the Sun's influence, following the USA space agency's Voyager 1's solar exit in 2012. 2019. Energetic charged particle measurements from Voyager 2 at the heliopause and beyond.

Our bubble protects the solar system from this "interstellar wind", and from cosmic radiation which could wreak havoc on our DNA. Scientists write that on Monday in five scientific articles in the journal Nature Astronomy. The edge of the heliosphere is called the heliopause. Just beyond the heliopause Voyager 2 discovered a boundary layer, where solar winds leak into space and interact with interstellar winds.

Voyager 1 and 2 crossed the heliopause at roughly the same distance from the sun, 121.6 AU and 119 AU, respectively.

The heliosphere is a bubble-like region of space created by our Sun.

Voyager 1 also crossed into interstellar space in 2012, but its damaged plasma instrument couldn't provide complete data about the crossing. "We are trying to understand the nature of the boundary where these two winds collide". "Our journey has expanded deeper and deeper into space". Made from plasma, it's often described as the solar wind that flows throughout the system and blocked from going further by pressure in the interstellar medium. This is the second interstellar spacecraft to reach so far from home, joining Voyager 1 which exited the solar system in 2012.

This could be due to Voyager 1 crossing during a solar maximum, as presently solar activity is now at a low, or the craft itself might have crossed through on a less perpendicular trajectory that meant it ended up spending longer at the edge.

The Sun's heliosphere is like a ship sailing through interstellar space.

"Voyager 2's magnetometer observations confirm the Voyager 1 finding and indicate that the two fields align", Professor Stone said. Voyager 1 passed into the ISM at 122.6 AU.

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It has been a year since Voyager 2 left the heliosphere - the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by our Sun.

"It implies that the heliosphere is symmetric, at least at the two points where the Voyager spacecraft crossed", said Bill Kurth, University of Iowa research scientist.

"Think of a cold front that forms when a very cold air mass comes down to the USA from Canada", said Don Gurnett, professor of physics at the University of Iowa. The plasma inside the heliosphere is hot and sparse, while the plasma in interstellar space is colder and denser. Voyager 2 has also continued to see low-energy particles from the sun in the ISM, but Voyager 1 didn't. This is considered the crossing point to interstellar space. On NASA's tracking page for the mission, each spacecraft's odometer ticks up by 10 miles (16 kilometers) or more twice a second, a constant churn that makes the passage of time suddenly excruciating. Voyager 2, on the other hand, is located closer to the flank, and this region appears to be more porous than the region where Voyager 1 is located. The batteries in the probes are expected to last only five years - after which the collection of measurement data is forced to stop - but then they simply continue their journey through the cosmos. The heliosphere is 11 billion miles from Earth, which is well beyond Pluto's orbit. The two probes are physically identical, but they took different paths through the solar system.

Over time, power system efficiency has decreased, and the generators produce 40% less than they did at the time of launch.

Still, the observations of the heliopause really are part of the last hurrah for both spacecraft. Engineers did the same thing with thrusters on Voyager 1 in 2017. This meant determining the point at which Voyager 1 left the solar system was more hard. It's also using more power, so engineers turned off a heater for the Cosmic Ray Subsystem. The presence of the outer layer came to light after Voyager 2 crossed the interstellar space.

This artist's concept shows the Voyager 1 spacecraft entering the space between stars.

The data gathered by the probes has helped inform NASA's Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, scheduled to launch in 2024.

Late past year the probe punched through the protective bubble that surrounds the solar system.

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