It’s time to say goodbye to one of the most storied explorers of our age: Voyager 2 has entered interstellar space, NASA announced today (Dec. 10).
By Meghan Bartels | SPACE.com
Voyager 2, which launched in 1977, has spent more four decades exploring our solar system, most famously becoming the only probe ever to study Neptune and Uranus during planetary flybys. Now, it has joined its predecessor Voyager 1 beyond the bounds of our sun’s influence, a milestone scientists weren’t able to precisely predict when would occur. And intriguingly, humanity’s second crossing doesn’t look precisely like data from the first journey out. [Watch: Voyager 2 Reaches Interstellar Space!]
„Very different times, very different places, similar in characteristics,“ Ed Stone, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology and project scientist for the Voyager mission, said during a scientific talk before the announcement here at the 2018 meeting of the American Geophysical Meeting. „The next months ahead could be very revealing as well. … More to come!“
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited all four gas giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — and discovered 16 moons, as well as phenomena like Neptune’s mysteriously transient Great Dark Spot, the cracks in Europa’s ice shell, and ring features at every planet.