Voyager 1 edges closer to solar system

December 15th, 2010 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 15 (IANS) Thirty three years after its launch, NASA’s long-running Voyager 1 spacecraft is barrelling its way toward the edge of the solar system.Launched in 1977, the nuclear-powered Voyager 1 and its twin Voyager 2 toured Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and then kept going in different directions. Voyager 1 veered north while Voyager 2 headed south.

Since 2004, the unmanned probe (Voyager 1) has been exploring a region of space where solar wind, a stream of charged particles spewing from the sun at a million miles per hour, slows abruptly and crashes into the thin gas between stars.

NASA said recent readings show the average outward speed of the solar wind has slowed to zero, meaning the spacecraft is nearing ever closer to the solar system’s edge to a boundary known as the heliopause, the Daily Mail reported.

“It’s telling us the heliopause is not too far ahead,” said project scientist Edward Stone of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, according to a NASA statement.

Scientists estimate it will take another four years before Voyager 1 completely exits the solar system and enters interstellar space.

The Voyager results were presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

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