Voyager 2 recently became only the second ever man-made object to reach interstellar space, the universe beyond our own solar system.
The sheer size of space and the universe is basically unfathomable for the human mind to comprehend. Our planet is merely a grain of sand when it comes to the entirety of what’s out there. A scary thought for some but a fascinating one for others. So much out there to discover and we have only just begun to explore it.
When we say the human race has only just begun to explore it, we really mean that. Even though news about new discoveries and breakthroughs hits the headlines on a pretty regular basis, we really haven’t seen anything yet in the grand scheme of things. For instance, did you know that scientists have only sent one man-made object beyond our solar system?
That’s not technically true as now there are two. NASA’s Professor Edward Stone confirmed the news at an American Geophysical Union that Voyager 2 has now reached interstellar space reports BBC. It is now one of just two objects NASA has sent to explore space that has made it that far. The other? Voyager 1, of course. Even though Voyager 2 actually set off 16 days before its sister spacecraft, Voyager 1 was and still is traveling at a much greater speed.
Voyager 2 is still moving pretty quickly mind you. 34,000 mph to be exact. Even traveling at that breakneck speed, it has taken the probe a staggering 41 years to reach interstellar space. Its original mission was to help us learn more about planets such as Jupiter and Neptune. However, after it completed its mission in 1989 it obviously just kept on going and continues to do so.
The edge of our solar system is not where you might think it is. It’s not as simple as sailing past Pluto and thinking you have made it. In fact, different groups of scientists dispute where exactly the solar system ends. NASA is of the belief that it officially ends once you have left a protective bubble created by the sun referred to as the heliosphere. However, since there are some comets beyond that which are just about being held in place by the sun’s gravity, others believe our solar system extends beyond the heliosphere.
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