Voyager at the Edge of the Solar System

On September 5, 1977 Voyager 1 was launched as a first step in exploring our Solar System.  It is now approaching the end of that part of its journey.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a region of space in the outer solar system where the speed of solar wind  (charged particles streaming from the sun) is effectively zero. NASA scientists think the steep drop in solar wind speed is a sign that it has been blown sideways by a more powerful interstellar wind that blows in the spaces between stars….

in 2004 it crossed a solar system boundary known as the termination shock ? the border at which the sun’s supersonic solar wind crosses a shockwave, slows down and heats up.

The region immediately beyond the termination shock, where Voyager 1 is now, is called the heliosheath. The edge of the solar system is a cosmic border known as the  heliopause.

The heliosheath forms a turbulent outer shell of the sun’s cosmic reach, which scientists call its “sphere of influence.” Once Voyager 1 travels beyond the heliosheath and crosses the heliopause, it will officially be in interstellar space. The spacecraft is hurtling toward the solar system’s edge at a steady rate of about 38,000 mph (61,155 kph).

NASA thinks Voyager 1 could cross into the interstellar frontier by 2014. When the probe makes the crossing, there should be a sudden drop in the amount of hot particles Voyager 1 encounters and a spike in the number of cold particles it detects, NASA officials said.

The Edge of Space

Then it’s off to the darkness of interstellar space and the centre of the Milky Way. Until, of course, 2273 when it returns. Then it will wreak havoc on the Klingons and strike terror into the Federation.

V'GER

Until it evolves and melds with Stephen Collins

Decker and V'GER

Saving the Earth from the spacecraft, only to unleash 7th Heaven on the survivors.

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