After 35 years of exploration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) spacecraft Voyager 1 has reached a record-breaking 11 billion miles away from the sun. Experts predicted years ago this distance should have marked the end of our solar system, but new developments prove otherwise.
Essentially, the sun creates a magnetic field in which all the lines flow in the same direction. Where we once thought the solar system ended lies a new region that is actually within our solar system called a “magnetic highway.” According to NASA, this magnetic highway still is a part of our solar system because the magnetic lines still flow in the same direction as the sun’s magnetic field. But scientists believe we are within a couple years of exiting our solar system into interstellar space.
Aside from all of the science jargon and complex theories, it is unbelievable to think that a project beginning in 1977 has not only been helping us understand our solar system throughout its journey, but also now is shedding a new light onto how big our solar system actually is.
It is exciting to think we soon will be able to go beyond our own solar system and get a look into places we have only theorized about. It is predicted that even after we accomplish interstellar travel, Voyager 1 will not be within a decent range of any other stars before they are expected to run out of power some time after 2020.
Hopefully some day we can create a new technology that will outlast Voyager 1 so future generations can keep exploring the unknown world outside our solar system and possibly gain information about unknown places past the sun’s magnetic field.