NASA announced on December 10, 2018 that the Voyager 2 probe has reached interstellar space, making it the second human-made object to do so. Read more facts here.
- As of now, there are five artificial spacecrafts achieved the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. These are Voyager-1, Voyager-2, New Horizons, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11.
- Voyager 1 was the first human-made object to leave our Solar System when it crossed into interstellar space in 2012.
- Voyager 2 became the second human-made object to cross into interstellar space in December 2018.
- New Horizons is still active and will eventually transition to the space between the stars.
- Pioneers 10 and 11 also have reached escape velocity, but both spacecraft have been inactive for many years.
- Pioneer – 11 was the first spacecraft to reach Saturn.
- It was launched in September 1977, flew past Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980, making a special close approach to Saturn’s moon Titan.
- The faint ring system of Jupiter was discovered by Voyager -1.
- The probe passed the heliosphere (the area of influence of sun) on 25 August 2012 to enter interstellar space and is still active.
- Voyager 1 will not approach another star for nearly 40,000 years, even though it is moving at such great speed. But it will be in orbit around the centre of our galaxy with all its stars for billions of years.
VOYAGER – 2
- Voyager-2 is the only spacecraft to study all the four outer planets of solar system at close range.
- Voyager – 2 is the only spacecraft the visited Uranus and Neptune.
- It was launched in August 1977, flew past Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989.
- Voyager 2 left solar system and entered interstellar space on December 2018, making it second human made object to do so.
- The Primary mission of this spacecraft was to study Pluto and a secondary mission to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs).
- Launched in 2006, the probe flew past Jupiter in 2007 and Pluto on 14 July 2015.
- It is currently headed towards a Kuiper belt object (486958) 2014 MU69 (nick named Ultima Thule).
- The flyby will occur in January 2019, which will make it the farthest object in the Solar System ever to be visited by a spacecraft.