The Voyager 2 probe that was launched by NASA in 1977 has become the second probe sent by the team to leave the solar system and head to interstellar space. Though it was launched within 15 days after the first Voyager 1 the former was faster and it has gained 6 years over Voyager 2 that left solar system on November 5th this year. This news was confirmed by the mission’s chief scientist Prof Edward Stone at the American Geophysical Union in Washington. Earth team that was tracking Voyager 2’s progress realized that it had left solar system when the stream of sun emitted particles it was detecting suddenly stopped.
This signified that the probe had moved out of heliopause region which is the protective layer of particles and the magnetic field around the sun. Though the first Voyager could not give any detailed data of the region, the Voyager 1 has a working instrument to provide detailed information about the gateway out of the solar system into interstellar space. The probe’s current location is around 18 billion miles from earth and it is moving at a steady pace of 34000 miles per hour. But the Voyager is several miles away at 22 billion kms from the earth and is traveling at a rapid pace of 61000 kms per hour.
Prof Stone said that the longer the probes stay in space and send information the greater will be the benefit for mankind as till date both space-crafts have ventured this far into hitherto unexplored space. When the spacecraft were sent out there was no vision about how long it would take for them to reach sun’s heliosphere and if they would be able to escape out of the solar system without damage. He said that this is a very exciting period of the Voyager’s 41-year journey but is worried too that now both will have to pass through the Oort cloud that has loosely floating comets that are gravitating towards the sun.