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Friday, March 22, 2013

Voyager 1 left the solar system

On March 20, 2013, it was announced that Voyager 1 may have been the first man-made object to leave the Solar System, on August 25, 2012. However, it is still under debate as to whether the new region is interstellar space or an unknown region of the Solar System.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is a 722 kg (1,590 lb) space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and interstellar medium. Operating for 35 years, 6 months, and 16 days as of 21 March 2013, the spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network. At a distance of about 123 AU (1.840×1010 km) as of November 2012,it is the farthest man-made object from Earth. It is still unclear whether the new region is interstellarspace or an unknown region of the Solar System.
As part of the Voyager program, and like its sister craft Voyager 2, the spacecraft is in extended mission, tasked with locating and studying the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt, the heliosphere and interstellar space. The primary mission ended November 20, 1980, after encountering the Jovian system in 1979 and the Saturnian system in 1980. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two largest planets and their moons.

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