‘Voyager 2’ leaves Solar System 41 years after launch

Nasa still in touch with vessel, the second human-made object to reach interstellar space

This Nasa artist’s concept shows the general locations of Nasa’s two Voyager spacecraft, which have both left the Solar System.  Voyager 1 (top) and Voyager 2 (bottom) are still exploring 41 years after being launched from Florida.  Photograph: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/AFP.

This Nasa artist’s concept shows the general locations of Nasa’s two Voyager spacecraft, which have both left the Solar System. Voyager 1 (top) and Voyager 2 (bottom) are still exploring 41 years after being launched from Florida. Photograph: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/AFP.

 

Nasa’s Voyager 2 has become only the second human-made object to leave the Solar System and reach the space between stars.

The US space agency said on Monday that Voyager 2 exited the region of the sun’s influence last month.

The spacecraft is now beyond the outer boundary of the heliosphere, some 11 billion miles from Earth. It is trailing Voyager 1, which reached interstellar space in 2012.

Interstellar space is the vast mostly emptiness between star systems.

According to Nasa, the Voyagers are still technically in our solar system.

Scientists maintain the solar system stretches to the outer edge of the so-called Oort Cloud. It would take thousands of years for the spacecraft to get that far.

Despite the great distance, flight controllers are still in contact with Voyager 2.

The Voyagers launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1977. - PA